Oxfam survey finds 65% of Irish people 'feel overwhelmed' by media coverage of refugee crisis

The UN estimates that more than 5,000 people died attempting to cross the Mediterranean this year

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A wooden boat used by refugees to leave Libya drifts abandoned after a rescue operation to save migrants on the Mediterranean sea. Image: Santi Palacios / AP/Press Association Images

A new survey by Oxfam Ireland has found that almost two-thirds (65%) of Irish people 'feel overwhelmed' by media coverage about the refugee crisis.

Six out of ten people questioned in a national survey say they are moved by stories of individuals or families that are forced to become refugees - and 46% would like to do more to help.

43% of respondents also said they would like the Irish Government to make responding to the refugee crisis a priority next year.

The findings come as the UN refugee agency UNHCR estimates that more than 5,000 people have died attempting to cross the Mediterranean this year, which it describes as 'the worst annual death toll ever seen'.

Oxfam Ireland Chief Executive Jim Clarken said: “The staggering statistics can seem abstract but mask the enormous human tragedy which is playing out across the globe. Every three seconds, someone flees their home because of violence, poverty or disaster. 

“We anticipate that much of our humanitarian work in 2017 will focus on supporting people forced to flee their homes due to conflict or poverty. As the crisis continues into the New Year, we must not become numb to the pain and suffering of so many people.”"

Sorcha Nic Mhathúna from Oxfam Ireland says they are very proud of the Irish effort so far.

"Irish people have been incredibly generous towards the Syria crisis and other humanitarian crises over the past year - and [over] many years, in fact," she said.