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Author Picture By - Sep 08, 2015

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Throughout the summer, the news has featured heartbreaking stories of refugees facing hardship and risking their lives – and in many cases, losing their lives – as they flee conflict and persecution in their home countries.

Right now, there are nearly 60 million people around the world displaced by crises – the most since World War II. The conflict in Syria alone has left more than 12 million people in need of humanitarian aid.

While the scale of the challenge can seem overwhelming, you can help make a difference by supporting United Nations agencies that provide vital aid to refugees, including medicine, shelter, food, water, and more. As UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has said: “This is a human tragedy that requires a determined collective political response. It is a crisis of solidarity, not a crisis of numbers.”

Here are three things you can do today to help:

1. DONATE: UN humanitarian agencies are severely underfunded. For example, the World Food Programme has had to make cuts in food aid for Syrian refugees in Jordan because of funding shortages. Your dollars can make a difference. Donate today:

2. GET EDUCATED: Learn more about refugee issues from the UN Refugee Agency, including the difference between “refugees” and “migrants” and why it matters.

You can also read UNHCR’s key guidelines for dealing with the refugee crisis in Europe and UNICEF’s call for action to protect children.

3. RAISE YOUR VOICE: Tell your friends, families, and social networks about what’s happening and the need for help. Raise your voice on social media and let your leaders know that you want action and resources to support refugees.

A remark from Albert Einstein, who was a refugee, reminds us of our shared responsibility to each other. He said: “Strange is our situation here on Earth. Each of us comes for a short visit, not knowing why, yet sometimes seeming to divine a purpose. From the standpoint of daily life, however, there is one thing we do know: that man is here for the sake of other men.”

(Photo credit: UNHCR/F. Schlatter)

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