Under international law, a refugee is someone who is, unable or unwilling to return to and avail himself or herself of the protection of his or her home country or, if stateless, country of last habitual residence because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.
Often, a refugee is someone who has been forced from their home country by war, civil conflict, political strife, or gross human rights abuses. Even survivors of natural disasters are not in the same position. However great their needs may be in terms of food, shelter, and health care, their governments are usually sympathetic towards them. However, natural disasters occurring in conjunction with civil strife or persecution may exacerbate a refugee situation.