To leave or to stay? Many Syrian and Iraqi families face that question as the conflict continues to rage around them. International humanitarian assistance is dwindling and the patchwork of resources they used to rely on is wearing thin. To leave is to risk their lives over dangerous seas and through countries hesitant to open their doors. But to stay is also a great risk.
While it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the number of people in need, together we can help deliver relief and peacebuilding.
While MCC provides humanitarian assistance to help displaced people stay in the region, for some resettling elsewhere is the only option. Churches and other groups can sponsor refugees to come to Canada, helping them find safety and a new home.
In Canada, MCC has a long history of resettling families. Refugee coordinators provide support throughout the process from assisting with applications to welcoming the family and helping them establish a new life. Learn more about how you can get involved with refugee sponsorship.
For the millions of displaced people still in the region, there is a pressing need for humanitarian relief and peacebuilding, and the money to provide it is decreasing. The lack of funding for relief work is adding to the numbers of people taking huge risks to flee.
Doug Enns, one of MCC’s representatives for Lebanon and Syria, says MCC’s local partners have told him “it is paramount for the international community to stem the tidal wave of migration by doing everything possible to support the refugees in the region so they wouldn't feel they had to risk their lives at sea trying to reach Europe.”
In Syria, Iraq and surrounding countries, MCC has 27 ongoing projects that deliver emergency relief. Through our partners, we are providing food and rent assistance as well as essential items such as relief and hygiene kits, clothing and kitchen supplies. MCC is also supporting peacebuilding work, education for displaced children, and trauma healing, and will provide supplies to keep people warm during the coming winter.
One MCC partner, Popular Aid for Relief and Development (PARD) told Enns that “without the MCC voucher project through Canadian Foodgrains Bank, many more Syrian refugee families would be risking their lives at sea. MCC's sustained food security for these families, over two years ongoing, along with education for their children have given them a sense of dignity, hope and reason to hang in there while they wait to return home to Syria.”
Responding to this crisis is MCC’s largest ever humanitarian effort, but the needs are growing faster than the resources are coming in. You can help provide vital humanitarian relief by donating to MCC’s Syrian and Iraq crisis response online at mcccanada.ca/syria-iraq or call toll-free 1-888-622-6337.