Syrian Crisis: Syria and the surrounding countries

12.3 million people have fled their homes since fighting broke out in Syria in 2011. 6.6 million people are internally displaced with up to 13.5 million people within Syria needing humanitarian assistance. Many millions – over 4.7 million – more have fled to the surrounding countries of Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Turkey. 400,000 people have been killed. The UN Refugee Agency says 142,000 children born in exile as a result of the Crisis. Most people moved nearby initially in the hope of soon returning. That hope has been decimated and those places of exile are under increasing strain – people now willing to travel further to find security.

Many can’t continue to pay rent where they are not allowed to work and face eviction (Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq) Forced to go to overcrowded camps, to work illegally, to take on debt, to spend all savings, to flee further afield.

There is not enough international aid – appeal for Syria globally is only half funded (and it reached this level after Europe started sending more aid in hope it would prevent more people from crossing the Med.

World Food Programme vouchers were cut for 1000s of refugees forcing many into negative coping strategies such as begging and child labour.

In Jordan many lost access to free healthcare. In 2015 60% of Syrian adults were forced to go untreated for chronic illnesses. This was up from 23% in 2014.

In Jordan 90,000 Syrian children are going without formal education. 20% of Syrian refugee children have abandoned school in order to work. Many girls stop attending due to early marriages, another survival mechanism of the crisis. In Lebanon, where education for Syrian children is free, 200,000 are out of school because they can’t afford transport fees and because they are needed to support their families.

Bishops’ Appeal is grateful for the support of churches all over Ireland that has enabled funding of food, water, shelter, schooling, trauma counselling and medical support for Syrians caught up in these horrendous circumstances.

As of June 2016, the Church of Ireland through Bishops’ Appeal has raised €76,070 and £41,284 for the Syrian and Refugee Crisis Appeals

How you can help Syrian refugees in Iraq

€25 / £21   could buy rice, vegetable oil, beans lentils, tomato paste and salt.

€50 / £43   could provide a hygiene kit with soap, toothpaste, toothbrush, wound disinfectant and bandages.

€70 / £60   could afford a blanket, mattresses, pillows and a cooking set.