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As 2014 draws to a close, one sobering statistic stands out: there are more refugees than at any time since the second world war. More than 51m people have fled their homes. In Syria, half the population has been displaced by civil war.

This year’s Financial Times seasonal appeal is supporting the work of the International Rescue Committee, a New York-based charity that works in more than 30 countries, helping millions of people displaced by wars and natural disasters to survive and make a viable living.

This is a new departure for the FT: since our first appeal in 2006, we have focused our fundraising efforts on small and medium-sized charities. The money kindly donated by FT readers has often been transformative for our partner charities, allowing them to expand and embark on new projects.

This year, however, the scope of our fundraising must be bigger to reflect the scale of the humanitarian crisis playing out in Syria and the region. IRC’s size and efficiency means that for every dollar donated, 90 cents goes to its work in the field.

The British government is backing the campaign by doubling readers’ donations — and all the extra money will go to IRC’s work with Syrian refugees. Last year, IRC helped 4m Syrians. Give generously, and in 2015 it will be able to reach many more.

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