For most of us, the Syrian refugee crisis is overwhelming, multifaceted, and hard to understand. Many people are filled with questions and a desire to help, but it can be hard figuring out exactly where to start.
Perhaps one of the questions you have is, “Who are these refugees?” Refugees are people fleeing war, persecution, and political uprising to seek safety elsewhere (Source: International Rescue Committee). In the case of Syria, refugees are fleeing an internal civil war and also fleeing from the violence of the Islamic State (ISIS).
So how many refugees are there exactly? According to the UN Refugee Agency, as of January 19th, 2016 there are 4,597,436 registered Syrian refugees on the earth. Although the war in Syria broke out five years ago, the need is still as fresh and present as ever before (Source: UNHCR)
The Syrian refugee situation is debatably the most extreme humanitarian crisis of the era. More than an astounding 11 million civilians have either been killed or displaced since the beginning of the war. That is approximately half of the country’s population before the current conflict began (Source: Mercy Corps).
How many children are under threat from this conflict? Unfortunately, children have not been spared from the horrendous terrors of this war. 13,000 of the recorded dead are children, and 2 million of these children are still under siege from the oppression of either the Assad regime or the Islamic State (Source: BBC).
For the children who have survived the war and ISIS attacks, life is still full of devastating struggles. Many of these children suffer from serious post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and its terrible aftermath. Schools for Syrian refugees report that children often color brutal images of shootings, bombs, houses on fire, and much worse (Source: Washington Post). It is evident that these children are in desperate need of love, and because many of them have lost their fathers to the conflict, they need the love of the Father.
We here at World Compassion have been moved to respond to this need. We know that it is only the Father through Jesus Christ who can restore lives and heal the hearts of these children.
The suffering of Syrian refugees is pervasive and real. Many have struggled to adapt to their new temporary homes in neighboring countries such as Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, and Iraq as well as nations outside the Middle East like Greece, France, and Germany. Although many have found rest in refugee camps, resources are at a bare minimum and are often lacking. Former UK Prime Minister David Cameron said concerning the issue, “There is a critical shortfall in life-saving aid” (Source: BBC).
What is happening in Syria and in nations where Syrian refugees have relocated is absolutely daunting. Many of us wonder how exactly we can help ease at least some of the pain and loss in this situation.
Fortunately, there is a way you can help. World Compassion has been serving refugees of the Syrian crisis who have fled to Iraq. Each month we feed and provide other necessities for over 4,000 refugees who are victims of the civil war and ISIS atrocities. In fact, over the past year our partners have helped us provide approximately 1.75 million meals to those in need.
And now because of the mass migration of refugees into Europe, World Compassion has expanded aid to refugee camps in this region. With the help of supporters like you, we’ve been able to send approximately 275,000 meals to pastors in Athens, Greece for them to distribute as they share the love of Christ with refugees. Ultimately though, these refugees need your prayers because only Christ can heal their deepest wounds.
This month marks the fifth year of the Syrian Civil War. Although a ceasefire has been called, the war drags on, and the need is still relevant and pressing – now more than ever. Your partnership is a critical component of the aid being distributed to refugees as well as the opportunity for these people to hear the redeeming power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We believe that only Jesus has the power to reconcile this conflict and heal the hearts of those wounded by it. We are called to be moved with compassion for His people and to lead all people to Him.