Week of Compassion” Syrian Refugees Crisis Surrounding the Middle East and Europe
The news has been filled this first week of September with chaotic scenes. 3-year old Alyan Kurdi, along with his brother Galip, their mother, and nine other Syrian refugees drowned during an attempt to pass the Aegean Sea in hopes of finding safety (over 2500 others have been lost in recent months attempting similar escape). Outside of the Hungarian capital of Budapest, trains packed with Syrian refugees have been halted at the order of the authorities, while the migrants inside refuse to leave because they know that they cannot survive being returned home.
Since the beginning of 2015, over 100,000 displaced persons from Northern and Middle Africa, Syria, Afghanistan, and Iraq have been registered in Hungary alone, but the authorities are unable to handle all the needs of the migrants as the numbers continue to rapidly increase. All countries surrounding the crisis region are feeling the same strain on their resources, and the situation will only continue to become more dire.
For the past four years, the crisis in Syria has been escalating. Unimaginable violence and unrest across the Middle East and Northern Africa has grown to a level that has created one of the greatest humanitarian crises in current memory. Not since the Second World War have we seen such high numbers of refugees and displaced persons desperately seeking safety and refuge in lands not their own.
This week, we have been confronted with a visible image of exactly what is at stake: the lives – many of which have been lost – of men, and women, and small children… all of whom are beloved children of God.
At this moment, the Church is being called to respond. Through Week of Compassion and its partners, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada have been working to provide support and refuge to those in need. Below are a few examples of work that is already underway, as well as continuing opportunities to respond to the needs of those who are living through the crisis.
WHAT WE HAVE BEEN DOING
Week of Compassion has been working with partners inside the country of Syria, as well as in the surrounding countries of Jordan, Lebanon, Greece, Serbia, Turkey and Hungary in providing emergency assistance to the million of refugees who are fleeing the conflict. Just in the last month, Week of Compassion has been working with our partners in providing the following emergency aid:
- Water, sanitation, and hygienic items to individuals, especially children and women
- Essential medicines and medical supplies and equipment
- Psychological, emotional, spiritual, and social support for children and their mothers in refugee camps
- Distributing clothes, blankets and other non-food items in refugee camps in preparation for the winter cold season
- Building emergency shelters for the increasing number of refugees
Week of Compassion is sharing resources and changing lives. Thank you for sharing your resources and helping to change lives.
The United Church of Christ and Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) continue to offer support for the work of many partners in the region to provide humanitarian response to the needs of Syrian refugees. Please consider supporting the work of Global Ministries’ partners’ relief efforts in and around Syria. You can do that through One Great Hour of Sharing (UCC), the Week of Compassion (Disciples), or through Global Ministries directly.