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BWA sends Aid to SYRIA T

he Baptist World Alliance (BWA) has granted an additional sum of US$20,000 for Syrian relief, following on other grants in 2012 and earlier this year. The funds will be used specifically for the humanitarian crisis in Homs, one of the hardest hit areas in the ongoing Syrian civil war and an epicenter of the revolutionary movement in the Middle Eastern country. Homs has seen some of the largest casualties and destruction since protests began in Syria in March 2011. A goal of the project is to provide monthly food and medical support to 150 Syrian families over a four-month period that will enable the families affected by the crisis to meet basic human needs and cope with displacement, violence and the deteriorating economic conditions. The BWA partner in the relief effort reported that “the humanitarian

situation has continuously deteriorated. The civilian population is suffering from the impact of armed violence, human rights violations and increasing lack of access to food, water and medical assistance.” The group stated that “mass displacement continues across Syria” and cited a United Nations report asserting that by the end of 2013, “half the

population of Syria will be in need of aid.” It is estimated that by the end of this year, some 3.45 million Syrians will be refugees in other countries and another 6.8 million displaced inside Syria. “Fear and lack of security is dominating in daily life. Kidnapping, car bombs, suicide bombs, shelling and bombardment have had terrible psychological, economic and social implications,” the BWA partner declared. There has been “significant damage to structures and infrastructure.” In a resolution passed by the BWA General Council in July of this year, the BWA called on governments to “support the efforts of those who are working toward a negotiated peace [in Syria] and provide essential humanitarian resources to assist refugees in this situation of conflict.” A second resolution passed by the General Council encouraged Baptists “to act as advocates for displaced persons and to develop plans to respond with compassion and hospitality to the needs of displaced persons.”

Donations to BWA Syrian Relief

may be made online at:

BWA DIRECTOR Visits Syrian Refugees IN JORDAN AND LEBANON A section of Aleppo bombed during the Syrian civil war

or sent to: Baptist World Aid c/o Baptist World Alliance 405 North Washington Street Falls Church, VA 22046 USA

s the world community prepared to mark World Refugee Day on June 20, the Baptist World Alliance® focused on the plight of Syrians who have been displaced by the civil war that began in the Middle Eastern country in 2011. The death toll from the civil war is estimated at more than 100,000. The United Nations estimates that the number of Syrian refugees has exceeded 1.4 million with the majority in Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Egypt. More than four million are believed to be displaced inside Syria. Rothangliani Chhangte, director of Baptist World Aid (BWAid), the relief and development arm of the BWA, traveled to Jordan and Lebanon in June to visit refugee camps and to observe work being done by Baptists and other local partners in the region to assist Syrian refugees in those countries. The plight of the refugees, she said, is desperate. “In Lebanon, Syrian


refugees already make up one fifth of the population. This is causing a tremendous strain on the local communities that are hosting the refugees,” Chhangte said. “The lack of housing has already driven up the price of rent in the country, making it difficult even for local Lebanese to pay for rent.” In Jordan, “there are so many families who are in need who do not get any aid assistance and Jordanians worry about the long term effects this will have in their country.” She reported that BWA partners target those refugees who are not registered and have not received aid from the UN or other aid agencies. Refugees face myriad problems. These include lack of security, poverty, inflationary prices, overcrowding and lack of proper housing, insanitary

conditions, chronic diseases and children missing out on school. Chhangte indicated that perhaps the most difficult

problem that Syrian refugees face is the sense of a loss of dignity. “While they are grateful for the aid they receive and the safety they feel in Jordan and Lebanon, they also expressed a feeling of a loss of dignity, by being forced to accept handouts from other people.” The hope, she said, is that BWAid, working with partners in Jordan and Lebanon, “will be able to help them get their dignity back with our generosity so they need not have to beg for food and assistance.”

Chhangte is appealing to the international Baptist community for assistance. “At the moment the best way to help is to send money.”

She also said “they want our advocacy and they also want our prayers. They would also welcome international medical teams to help out in their clinics by providing free medical check-ups for refugees.” There are also requests for English language teachers in Lebanon and volunteers who can work with children in both Jordan and Lebanon.


Medical teams and teaching volunteers may write to:

Courtesy of Voice of America News

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