Foundation Beyond Belief, with whom I work, is mounting a Humanist Crisis Response to raise funds to help the International Rescue Committee provide basic care for the millions of Syrians who have become refugees in the current civil war. Regardless of the political divisions in this country, there is a humanitarian crisis going on that the UN High Commissioner for Refugees calls “a disgraceful humanitarian calamity with suffering and displacement unparalleled in recent history.”
The number of people involved is absolutely staggering. More than two million people have fled Syria and become refugees in Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan and Iraq. Nearly five million people are displaced from their homes inside Syria. Our staff evaluated several charities working to aid Syrian refugees and selected International Rescue Committee as the beneficiary of our crisis response drive. The IRC is working in Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, and Iraq to provide medical supplies and assistance, cash assistance to families, social services, clean water and sanitation, and education. The IRC places an emphasis on protecting women and preventing gender-based violence in situations of mass displacement. Here’s some of what the IRC is doing:
- In Syria, more than 700,000 vulnerable people served to date with medical and emergency supplies. Emergency Response Team is at work in camps for the displaced, providing clean water and sanitation, education to primary students, and emergency supplies to families.
- In Jordan, the IRC provides reproductive health care, cash assistance, and social services to refugee families, as well as counseling and other support for survivors of sexual violence. In Jordan’s refugee camps, the IRC is providing technical support for refugee women and girls and helping to reunite children with their families.
- In Lebanon, the IRC operates four Women’s Centers for refugees and medical consultations. We are also helping hundreds of refugee families with cash assistance enabling them to pay for rent, food, utilities and other essentials.
- In Iraq, at the Domiz camp in the north, the IRC provides camp management and a safe space for women. We’re also building a secondary school so refugee children can have an education. At Al Qaim camp, near the border with Syria, the IRC is providing free legal assistance, mobilizing community groups, and helping survivors of sexual violence.
“No matter what the military or political situation is, the human situation is catastrophic,” said our founder and executive director Dale McGowan. “The relief organizations on the ground are doing heroic work, and the humanist community is stepping up to help.”
If you’d like to be part of that response from the humanist community, please go here and donate what you can.