“In Oxfam’s Dublin office we have a number of lifejackets worn by people who crossed the Mediterranean in 2016 – not all of whom made it to Europe alive. Many were never seaworthy, filled with straw and sponge. There was no hope of surviving if the boat capsized. These lifejackets symbolise the human tragedy unfolding behind the statistics.

More than 65m people are forcibly displaced today – the highest number ever recorded. Three countries produce half the world’s refugees – Syria, Afghanistan and Somalia. While the spotlight in recent times was on Europe’s challenge to manage one million refugees and migrants, a proportionately tiny number against the size of the EU, 86pc of the world’s refugees are hosted in developing countries. Meanwhile, the six richest economies in the world – the US, UK, France, Germany, China and Japan – host only 9pc of them.

Hundreds of life jackets, collected from the beaches of Chios in Greece, lie on Pebble Beach at Brooklyn Bridge Park, highlighting the desperate plight of children and adults forced to make the perilous journey across the Mediterranean. Photo: Darren Ornitz Photography via Oxfam Ireland

In Ireland, our navy has done great work conducting search and rescue. However, our domestic response has been inadequate given the scale of the problem. Having initiated a programme to welcome 4,000 Syrians last year through the Irish Refugee Protection Programme, only about 750 people have arrived so far, while Syria continues to be blown apart by a savage and relentless conflict.”

For more, check out the blog post by Brian Malone of Oxfam Ireland about the UN Summit on Migration in September 2016.

Source: Sunday Independent; Oxfam Ireland

Year: 2016

Text by Jim Clarken CEO of Oxfam Ireland

Note: photograph of lifejackets is included for illustrative purposes

Produced by: Just Forests

Format: rescued wood sample

Year: 1987

Courtesy of Tom Roche