What caused the current refugee crisis in the Middle East?
While it’s far more complicated, the simplest explanation is that an ongoing civil war in Syria, along with other violent conflicts throughout the Middle East, have forced millions of people to flee their homes. In Syria alone, 11 million people (half of them children) have fled their homes to find safety elsewhere. This is the highest figure for child refugees in more than a decade.
What’s the difference between a “refugee” and an internally displaced person (IDP)?
Refugees are those who have been forced to flee their country because of persecution, war, or violence. They have a well-founded fear of persecution because of their race, religion or political beliefs. Internally displaced person are those how have been forced to leave their homes, but remain in their own country. While this is an important distinction, the immense challenges facing both refugees and the displaced are often very similar.
What are the greatest challenges facing refugees and displaced families?
When families flee their homes, they often take only their I.D.s and the key to their home, hoping they may one day be able to return. While every refugee story is different, many refugees first find temporary settlements in which to live, either in dense urban centers, or in more rural regions, and most immediately need access to basic health, hygiene and household goods. Also, because refugees are most often not allowed to work or find education in the countries where they are seeking refuge, their options for earning meaningful income are severely limited.
Can the crisis get worse?
Yes. While the number of people already affected is astronomical, conflict in Syria and other regions of the Middle East continues, and more people are displaced from their homes every day. Worldwide, it is estimated that 42,500 people are forced to flee their homes every day.
Can the crisis get better?
Yes. The solutions to long term peace and stability in Syria and the Middle East are perhaps as complex as the reasons for how the crisis began. As individuals and communities in the United States unite to directly address the devastating effects of the crisis, refugees and their families experience hope, healing and renewed opportunity.
What can I do to help?
There is much you can do to help, and it doesn’t need to be complicated.Here are a few ways to get started:
1.Support your church’s efforts to partner with organizations like World Relief who are working directly with local leaders throughout the Middle East to serve refugees. Give financially to a church offering designated for refugee relief and development.
2.Join a Good Neighbor team that welcomes refugees to the United States and helps them acclimate to a new day-to-day life.
3.Provide a Welcome Kit to help a family as they arrive in the U.S.
4.Sign up for Unlock Hope. A simple way for each of us to make a practical difference in the lives of refugees. Learn more and sign up today at worldrelief.org/unlockhope
5.Continue to learn more about the crisis. A great list of resources is available at wewelcomerefugees.com.
*Used with permission from World Relief