President Obama has called going to war with Syria a “moral obligation“. Americans are against a military attack on Syria. Many believe the only real “moral obligation” the United States and the world has is to help those displaced by the violence. Many want to send bandages not bombs.
According to Food for the Hungry (FH), “As Congress determines the U.S. response to the crisis in Syria, Food for the Hungry has experts monitoring the increasingly volatile refugee and displaced people situation in Syria and neighboring countries. These are people caught in the middle and even if the US intervenes, this is a group that will most likely grow.” FH experts are located in Phoenix, AZ and Oxford, England.
“The civil war began in March 2011 and more than six million people have been displaced, including more than one million children, three quarters of them under age 11. This number is estimated to rise. This is highly traumatic for children and some are orphaned because of the violence. More than 100,000 have been killed and the Assad Regime has allegedly used chemical weapons against their own people,” notes FH.
FH states, “The majority of the refugees were middle income, business owners and other professionals who have had to flee. Kids have been taken out of school and are looking at the prospect of life in poverty. There is a chance of a lost generation focused on revenge.”
“One of the greatest concerns is that thousands could go hungry within a few months due to food shortages,” said Pete Howard, FH’s Director of Emergency Response.
Lucas Shindeldecker, FH’s Senior Food Security Program Officer, is currently on the ground in the region visiting multiple refugee settlements as part of FH’s ongoing assessment and response.
“Needs in Lebanese settlements are manifold and include access to clean water, tent winterization and protection from seasonal flooding,” Shindeldecker said. “In Jordan, most refugees are taken directly to Za’atari camp, but the majority only stay a short while. Refugees then leave camps and move into dwellings that have inadequate facilities and ever-increasing rents, causing Syrians to go further into debt.”
According to the UNHCR, more than 1.9 million people have fled the fighting in Syria and registered as refugees or applied for registration in neighboring countries. Two-thirds of these have arrived during 2013. Additionally, the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre reports that 1.5 million are displaced within Syria. FH is working in Syria, Jordan and Lebanon. At this point, Jordan and Lebanon host the highest number of refuges (684,000 in Lebanon and 516,000 in Jordan).
ABOUT FOOD FOR THE HUNGRY:
Founded in 1971, Food for the Hungry provides emergency relief and long-term development programs in more than 20 countries to help the world’s most vulnerable people. Learn more by visiting www.fh.org. FH social connections include www.facebook.com/