An Overview of

The Refugee Crisis


  • 70.8 million men, women and children are forcibly displaced in the world

  • 37,000 people are newly uprooted every day

  • 1:108 people in the world are forcibly displaced

  • About half are children

  • About half are women and girls

  • The number of forcibly displaced people has increased from 42 million in 2009 to 70.8 million today.


The world offers 3 solutions to forced displacement:

RETURN home. But this requires that the causes of displacement have been resolved. The UN has identitified over 30 protracted refugee producing situations in the world, the average duration of which is 26 years. Returning home is not an option for the vast majority of refugees.

INTEGRATE into their country of refugee. But nearly 9 of 10 refugees are hosted by developing nations that are economically and socially unable to absorb the people seeking refuge within their borders.

RESETTLE to another country. But during an average year, less than 1% of the world's refugee population is resettled. Few countries are willing to help by offering the resettlement option to refugees.

Statistics from Global Trends, Forced Displacement in 2018, published by UNHCR in June 2019. Visit our Toolbox to learn more about the global refugee crisis and how you can help.

Reasons to Hope

The number of refugees is growing. Solutions are failing. Yet there are reasons to hope.

  • REFUGEES are more than people in need. Visit any refugee camp and you will be amazed at their resiliency and resourcefulness. They can play an important role in their own recovery - if we let them.

  • GOD has always been at work in the lives of those traveling the refugee highway. Consider how God showed up when Hagar, Joseph, Moses, David, Daniel, Jesus, Philip and others were forcibly displaced. He is showing up today as well.

  • THE CHURCH is already present along much of the refugee highway. She carries the mandate to welcome and love the foreigner. A movement of hope is beginning to take root as local churches embrace their divine calling and begin to help people survive and recover from forced displacement.

The Refugee Highway

When forced to flee their homes, refugees need to find a way to a safe place. There are some well-worn paths in the world that they travel. These paths are the Refugee Highway.

The Highway is paved with tears of loneliness, fear and discouragement. Whatever part of the Highway they travel, refugees are met with the same message: Do Not Enter.

Yet there is hope. God is alive and well on the Refugee Highway.

Watch this powerful 6 minute video to learn more. We hope that you will download it and share it with others!

A Movement of Hope

Let’s make a difference together!

There are 70.8 million forcibly displaced children, women and men in the world - the highest number ever recorded. That's 1 in every 108 people alive today. Another 37,000 people are uprooted every day.

Three reasons why we refuse to lose hope.

First, God is alive and well along the refugee highway today. Second, Refugees are more than people in need. They are an important part of the solution. And third, God has begun a worldwide movement of his people to welcome and love refugees.

Learn more below.


Discover how you can help people survive and recover from forced displacement by providing them with shelter, water, Bibles, church buildings, schools, income-generation, specialized training and more!


Whether by joining the support team of one of our missionaries or by joining one of our teams yourself, you can show up in the lives of refugees. Explore the unique work of IAFR in Africa, Europe and North America.


Perhaps you want to serve refugees, but you're not sure where to begin. Or maybe you are already engaged in refugee ministry, but feel the need to be better equipped? We are here to help.

Next Steps

Ministry Resources

Map of the Highway

Current refugee realities along with biblical perspective all rolled up into a beautiful poster. Free download.

IAFR Multi-media

Eye-opening presentations and videos designed to introduce current refugee realities and offer biblical perspective.

IAFR Publications

Precise and thought provoking perspectives concerning current refugee realities and contemporary issues.

Other Resources

Helpful links to information and resources related to forcibly displaced people.

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