1. How bad is the refugee crisis?

There are currently around 52 million refugees around the world - numbers not seen since the end of World War II.

Images coming out of Europe have highlighted the plight of millions of refugees who have fled from Syria since conflict began in 2011.

Closer to New Zealand, Burma's persecuted Rohingya Muslim population has fled in droves, with many ending up marooned at sea on overcrowded vessels, often without food or water.

2. How is the world responding?

The numbers of refugees entering or attempting to get to Europe has caused a range of reactions from Governments. In Europe, Germany has led the way with plans to take 800,000 asylum seekers this year.

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Some Europeans have set-up voluntary campaigns such as Refugees Welcome, which is a scheme for sharing homes dubbed the "Airbnb for refugees".

3. What is New Zealand doing?

New Zealand is in the UN's refugee programme and has a quota of 750 refugees a year with leeway to take 75 fewer or more.

In the past year 756 refugees came to New Zealand under the quota including 83 from Syria. Refugees are given permanent residence and spend their first six weeks at the Mangere refugee resettlement centre.

4. Is that enough?

All parties within Parliament except for National believe the refugee quota should be increased, which would be the first increase in 30 years.

New Zealand is ranked 87th in the world for total refugee resettlement per capita.

Non-government organisations have also called on the Government to increase the quota or allow for an emergency refugee allocation, as happened with the Tampa refugees.

Prime Minister John Key has been firm on not increasing the quota, but yesterday softened his stance, and said the Government could move earlier than a regular review of the quota next year.

How you can help

Donate

World Vision has been supporting the Syrian refugees since 2011, and has already reached more than 1 million people left homeless and vulnerable in Lebanon, Jordan and Syria and Iraq.

Donate to its "Forgotten Millions" campaign.

New Zealand Red Cross has an emergency appeal for Syria:
Volunteer
The Red Cross also need volunteers to help refugees settle in New Zealand, and the Auckland Refugee Council also has a volunteer programme.

Provide employment
Work and Income wants to hear from people who have an idea for a project that could help get migrants and refugees into work.

The agency can offer advice and may be able to help with costs.