The uprising in Syria is complex and can be attributed to a mix of underlying factors - sectarianism, poverty, repression, and corruption - coupled with the trigger of the Arab Spring that began in 2010. Syrian society is also very diverse with a majority of Sunni Muslims but also a significant presence of Alawites, Christians and Druze.
The ongoing civil war in the country is taking its toll on innocent Syrian civilians of all backgrounds. 12.2 million people are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance in Syria, which is over half of the country’s current population. The escalating conflict has resulted in over four million Syrians fleeing the country, and 7.6 million more have been forcibly displaced within Syria, with many displaced multiple times due to the violence. Syria is now the site of the world’s largest internal displacement.
More than half the population lives in extreme poverty. Urgent humanitarian needs include food, medical care, shelter assistance, as well as protection against harsh weather conditions for the upcoming winter.
Humanitarian needs in Syria have reached this record high at the same time that an international humanitarian funding crisis forces cutbacks to assistance and threatens the continuation of lifesaving programs. The situation is critical. As the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator stated this month, “Funding shortfalls in Syria can be the difference between life and death.”
The over four million who have fled the country have gone to surrounding nations including Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. Some have traveled further to the Caucasus, the Persian Gulf, North Africa and more recently through Europe. Approximately 150,000 refugees crossed the European Union’s borders in September, 2015.
Through its partnership in the Canadian Foodgrains Bank, World Renew has been working with local organizations in Syria, Lebanon and Jordan to provide support and assistance to displaced families struggling to survive what has become a daily reality.
Within Syria, World Renew is working with the Lebanese Society for Educational and Social Development (LSESD) and the Fellowship of Middle East Evangelical Churches (FMEEC), to provide monthly food assistance to 2,000 displaced families in four cities. In 2013-2014, the Canadian Government provided $1m in funding to World Renew which enabled the organization to provide 5,110 families with winter items and other essential supplies including hygiene kits and rent subsidies.
In Jordan, World Renew provided food assistance to 1,000 families from 2013-2014 through its alliance with the Canadian Foodgrains Bank, and together with its local partner Arab Woman Today / Arab Centre for Consulting and Training Services (AWT/ACCTS). From January-October 2015, World Renew assisted 500 families with food per month. Due to insufficient funding, this project had to end in the Fall of 2015.
In Lebanon, World Renew worked closely with its local partner the Lebanese Society for Educational and Social Development (LSESD) to provide food vouchers to 1,825 Syrian families since July 2013. Due to insufficient funding, they have had to reduce this to 1,225 families per month. In addition to this food assistance, World Renew is providing milk and diapers to up to 300 very vulnerable families per month. The food assistance was reduced to 625 in the Dec 2015 to March 2016 time period.
For more information on World Renew’s work in resettling refugees in Canada, please visit http://www.worldrenew.net/refugees.
Please join us in praying for the people of Syria as they endure such hardship, and pray for a compassionate and coordinated response by the international community.