In this short piece our Chief Officer, Steven Smith, explains why International Refugee Trust is helping to rebuild the lives of Syrian refugees in Jordan.
The civil war in Syria has resulted in a refugee situation on a catastrophic scale:
- 13.5 million Syrians require humanitarian assistance
- Of which more than 6 million are internally displaced
- More than 5 million have fled the country as refugees (UNOCHA report , 16 Feb 16)
The vast majority of refugees have fled to neighbouring countries, such as Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan, where most live below the poverty line. Unemployment and low wages are the norm. Many rely on less sustainable sources of income, food vouchers, credit or borrowing money, mostly from friends and relatives. Falling into debt is common. For this reason, refugees face difficulties in accessing services and in providing food, housing, healthcare and other basic needs for their families.
To those of us living in peaceful, developed countries, refugees are often viewed with suspicion or aversion – as if it’s their fault that they are in their present situation. The truth is that the majority are just people like us.
In their former lives they may have been doctors, lawyers, accountants, factory workers, shopkeepers, office clerks, social workers or farmers. To put their situation in context, one might imagine going on holiday with the family from England to a foreign country, then receiving a phone call, mid-vacation, to say that you can never come home. Ever. Your home has been destroyed and the area taken over by people who will kill you on sight. Now you have to survive, with whatever you have in your suitcases, and whatever savings you may have. If you can access them, and if your bank is still able to operate.
It is people like this that International Refugee Trust is trying to help, through its support of the two ‘Italian Hospitals’, located at Amman and Karak, in Jordan. Established some 90 years ago to treat the poor and refugees, these hospitals are now facing unprecedented demand. But the staff simply will not give up. As one of the Missionary Sisters said to IRT, ‘This is now our new normal.’ Surely no cause could be more worthy of our support.
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