These are troubling times in the neighborhood.
As my friend left for Israel yesterday, she felt tense about Syrian President Bashar al-Assad warning America to “expect everything” if the U.S. attacked Syria for its use of chemical weapons. A lot of people are feeling tense.
Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told reporters on Monday that his country asked Syria to transfer control of its chemical weapons arsenal to an international body for dismantling. Assad doesn’t deny having chemical weapons, but he says those who claim he has used them are lying.
While the politicians debate in the public arena—scaring people the world over—everyday Syrians, many of whom once lived in middle class neighborhoods with running water and good jobs, have fled to neighboring countries to escape their civil war that rages in their country. They now live in squalid conditions. Their children are feared to be a lost generation who will grow up without an education, which could plunge them into a lifetime of dire poverty. If they survive.
“Syria is hemorrhaging women, children and men,” one eyewitness told Food for the Hungry (FH) staff, “who cross borders often with little more than the clothes on their backs.” And the United Nations estimates that half of those forced to leave are children … 75 percent of them are 10 years old or younger.
FH is responding by helping Syrian refugees in Jordon and Lebanon.
FH’s Director of Emergency Response Peter Howard traveled to the region this summer and came back with heartbreaking stories. Today, he says that the situation is getting worse.
“This is not about politics,” Peter said. “No matter what the U.S. or other countries may be doing about intervening militarily, millions will still urgently need help.”
FH is providing protection for women and children, who are often—tragically—victims of violence in refugee camps. We’re working with churches to provide schooling and after-school programs for the children. The only hope these kids have is to keep learning, so they can develop skills to rebuild their lives as adults. And we’re helping the churches in these areas to minister to Christians and others now living without a home.
If you’d like to help innocent people who have fled violence, you can donate to FH’s emergency response unit here.