MCC responds to Syrian and Iraqi refugee crisis

 

Hannah and her 8 children are Syrian refugees who came to Jordan in January 2014. One of her children is disabled, unable to walk, speak or eat by himself. They are living day to day in an apartment in one of the poorest areas of Amman with no furniture, no income and no family support. Together with MCC partner Caritas Jordan, we were able to bring blankets and relief buckets prepared in Canada. (MCC Photo/Gordon Epp-Fransen)

Hannah and her 8 children are Syrian refugees who came to Jordan in January 2014. One of her children is disabled, unable to walk, speak or eat by himself. They are living day to day in an apartment in one of the poorest areas of Amman with no furniture, no income and no family support. Together with MCC partner Caritas Jordan, we were able to bring blankets and relief buckets prepared in Canada. (MCC Photo/Gordon Epp-Fransen)

To leave or to stay? Many Syrian and Iraqi families face that question as the conflict continues to rage around them. International humanitarian assistance is dwindling and the patchwork of resources they used to rely on is wearing thin. To leave is to risk their lives over dangerous seas and through countries hesitant to open their doors. But to stay is also a great risk.

For the millions of displaced people still in the region, there is a pressing need for humanitarian relief and peacebuilding, and the money to provide it is decreasing. The lack of funding for relief work is adding to the numbers of people taking huge risks to flee.

Doug Enns, one of Mennonite Central Committee’s representatives for Lebanon and Syria, says MCC’s local partners have told him “it is paramount for the international community to stem the tidal wave of migration by doing everything possible to support the refugees in the region so they wouldn’t feel they had to risk their lives at sea trying to reach Europe.”

In Syria, Iraq and surrounding countries, MCC has 27 ongoing projects that deliver emergency relief. Through our partners, we are providing food and rent assistance as well as essential items such as relief and hygiene kits, clothing and kitchen supplies. MCC is also supporting peacebuilding work, education for displaced children, and trauma healing, and will provide supplies to keep people warm during the coming winter.

Caption for media: Syrian refugee Adra and her children received MCC-supported food vouchers and other humanitarian relief to supplement the occasional work her husband could find in Lebanon. (The family is not named for their protection.) (MCC Photo/Silas Crews)

Caption for media: Syrian refugee Adra and her children received MCC-supported food vouchers and other humanitarian relief to supplement the occasional work her husband could find in Lebanon. (The family is not named for their protection.) (MCC Photo/Silas Crews)

One MCC partner, Popular Aid for Relief and Development (PARD) told Enns that “without the MCC voucher project through Canadian Foodgrains Bank, many more Syrian refugee families would be risking their lives at sea. MCC’s sustained food security for these families, over two years ongoing, along with education for their children have given them a sense of dignity, hope and reason to hang in there while they wait to return home to Syria.”

Emily Loewen is a writer for MCC Canada.

View this story and a video from a PARD worker here: http://mcccanada.ca/stories/mcc-responds-syrian-iraqi-refugee-crisis

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