Egypt is a destination country along the central Mediterranean refugee route with people arriving from both the Middle East and east Africa. A growing population of concern is stranded in the most overcrowded and poorest neighbourhoods of its largest cities such as Cairo and Alexandria as a result of an upward trend of new arrivals and tightened control measures aimed at curbing irregular outflows towards Europe.
Of the more than 217 000 refugees registered by the UNHCR, 126 291 are from Syria and the remainder are from East Africa or Iraq.
What are the needs?
Egypt has seen a steady increase of refugees and migrants, with over 217 000 registered refugees. Almost 49 000 were registered in 2017 (between January and November), half of them Syrians. This influx has exceeded the historic peak of 2016 (source: UNHCR).
Newly-arrived refugees and asylum seekers mix with an urban refugee population as well as with stranded migrants, and are heavily reliant on humanitarian assistance. Refugees reside in overcrowded and impoverished urban centres, where local communities already struggle with difficult living conditions, high unemployment rates and poor access to critical services such as healthcare and education.
This coincides with Egypt’s worst economic recession in decades, which has seen dramatic price hikes in food and utilities.
In addition, refugees from African countries have no or limited access to formal education and suffer linguistic barriers and discrimination, further contributing to their marginalisation. According to a UN assessment, 95% of the Syrian refugee’s population is considered severely or highly vulnerable.