From the Field

Google map perspective: A refugee’s journey walking from Syria to Serbia

The Syrian refugee crisis is now the largest refugee and displacement crisis of our time. Because of the Syrian civil war, 5.5 million people have fled Syria as refugees, putting a strain on the region’s ability to cope. And another 6.1 million people are displaced within Syria.

Thousands of families — including infants and the elderly — are fleeing war and violence in Syria in hope of finding peace and a future. To get a perspective on that journey, here’s a turn-by-turn Google map — walking directions for a family fleeing Aleppo, Syria, trying to get to Horgos, Serbia.

The family would have to walk more than 1,400 miles to get to Serbia’s border with Hungary.

It would take 452 hours — about 50 days — if they walked eight hours per day and were able to cover an ambitious 25 miles per day.


More likely, that arduous trek would be a mix of walking and riding on transport while carrying possessions, shepherding young children, and stopping to look for food.

“It was cold, and we didn’t have blankets to cover ourselves,” said Muhammed, a 72-year-old Syrian refugee who had stopped at a park in Belgrade, Serbia, with his two grandchildren and daughter-in-law. “It is very difficult.”

But many are willing to make that uncertain and dangerous journey.

Hungary closed its border with Serbia this week, forcing refugees and migrants to seek entry into Europe through Croatia. And Croatia is now considering closing its borders with Serbia, fearing they will be overcome with refugees.

Thousands of people have congregated this week in the Horgos area on the Serbia-Hungary border. Some families are sleeping in tents, others out in the open.

World Vision has been distributing relief packs to weary refugees, which include bottled water, bananas, sanitary wipes, honey packets, and dates. For families with infants, World Vision has provided baby food and diapers.

How you can help Syrian refugees

  • Learn more: Check out our FAQs on the Syrian refugee crisis. What is it? When did it start? Why are Syrians fleeing their homes? How is the war affecting children? How can I help people affected and show them God’s love?
  • Pray: Join us in prayer for the people of Syria who have endured years of civil war and displacement.
  • Give: Help meet the most urgent needs of refugee children.

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