International Rescue Committee (IRC)

IRC in the News

IRC Press Coverage

September 29, 2015 - 

It is not quite clear when Europeans woke up to the largest movement of refugees on their soil since the upheavals of World War II, but Sunday, August 16, may have been a decisive turning point. In a television interview that day, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, returning from her summer vacation, said that the European Union’s single greatest challenge was no longer the Greek debt crisis. It was the wave after wave of Syrians and others now trying to enter Europe’s eastern and southern borders. It is “the next major European project,” she said. It “will preoccupy Europe much, much more than…the stability of the euro.”

International aid workers said that some holding areas had now become the most squalid in the world. At Kara Tepe, a makeshift reception center on the island of Lesbos, the International Rescue Committee, an emergency aid group working in forty countries, reported that there were just two showers for two thousand refugees; the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) described conditions as “shameful.”

September 29, 2015 - 

Producer, engineer, songwriter and musician Greg Wells is looking to raise thousands of dollars for Syrian refugee families by offering to produce a song for one successful eBay bidder, and donate 100% of the proceeds to the International Rescue Committee (IRC). Wells has also enlisted the help of five-time Grammy Award winning engineer Chris Lord-Alge, who has agreed to provide his mixing services for the job.

Known for his work with Katy Perry, Adele, Rufus Wainwright, Pink, Jamie Cullum and many more, Wells has sold around 85 million albums in total. Lord-Alge's credit list includes huge projects for the likes of James Brown, Green Day, U2, Muse, David Bowie, Tina Turner and My Chemical Romance.

The money – $35,000 is the current 'Buy It Now' price with just over a week to go – will be directly allocated to help Syrian refugee families arriving in California start a new life with legal work papers, and apply for permanent residency a year after entering the US.

September 28, 2015 - 

On the island of Lesbos, where half the refugees entering Greece land, officials report several thousand arriving every day in a trend likely to continue.

"If people continue to make the trip as we anticipate they will, we could very likely see more deaths," said David Miliband, head of humanitarian relief group International Rescue Committee. "We think this is indicative of the degree of despair setting in in Syria."

The death toll in the eastern Mediterranean has already surged. More than 70 people died at sea in September—the deadliest month for refugees trying to cross to Greece in two years, according to the International Organization for Migration.

"Even in amazingly strong winds, the traffickers put people in the boats when it is almost certain that they will sink," said Laura Pappa, head of Greek aid organization Metadrasi.

September 28, 2015 - 

Ahmed Ogeel is the luckiest of unlucky men. He left Egypt a week before that country's Jan. 25, 2011, revolution for his native Syria. Six weeks later, the marine engineering student returned to Egypt to take an exam. Three days after flying back to Alexandria, Egypt, the first major Syrian uprising took place – followed by the regime’s brutal crackdown. He never returned home.

Ogeel is one of 4 million Syrians living outside Syria – pushed out by a civil war that has claimed the lives of more than 200,000 people. He now lives on the Greek island of Lesbos, which has received the highest number of refugee arrivals in Greece: So far this year more than 100,000 have arrived on this island. Unlike the majority of refugees, for whom Lesbos is little more than a transit point on the way to northern Europe, Ogeel has made Lesbos his home