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It's vital that refugees from Syria's war receive humanitarian aid. The future of the Middle East depends on how we respond to this emergency.

Syrian Refugees in Turkey Need Humanitarian Aid

This Syrian family used to lead a happy life in Aleppo. Now the parents and children sleep on the streets of Istanbul in Turkey. They are among the 3 million refugees from Syria, many of whom live in desperate conditions. (UNHCR/S.Baldwin)
This Syrian family used to lead a happy life in Aleppo. Now the parents and children sleep on the streets of Istanbul in Turkey. They are among the 3 million refugees from Syria, many of whom live in desperate conditions. (UNHCR/S.Baldwin)

There are nearly a million Syrian war victims who have fled to neighboring Turkey. A quarter million of these are living in refugee camps.

The conflict in Iraq is also adding to the numbers of refugees arriving in Turkey. Thousands of Iraqi Yazidis, who were forced from their homes by the ISIL terrorist army, have sought refuge in Turkey.

The daily flow of refugees is putting a tremendous strain on the Turkish government and relief organizations. Turkey is building new camps for the refugees. There are also Syrians living on the streets in Turkey who need to be relocated to these camps.

The UN World Food Programme (WFP) is helping the Syrian refugees by providing rations and e-cards. The e-cards allow refugees to shop in local markets. This helps the local economy while providing the humanitarian aid.

There is great concern though over the shortage in funding for WFP operations in Turkey and the region. WFP says it may be forced to cut back on aid because of the lack of funds. This will be very devastating.

The UN food agency relies entirely on voluntary donations. The Syrian relief mission is a gigantic one with over 7 million people needing food aid. A WFP report says it needs US $ 324 million for its operations inside Syria and the neighboring countries like Turkey.

The Turkish government has already called upon the international community to help more with the refugee crisis. WFP, in a report, says, “Tensions between Syrians and host communities, although small-scale and isolated, have been reported during August.” This is often a crisis that can develop in countries hosting large numbers of refugees. If humanitarian aid is reduced these tensions will certainly increase.

So it’s vital  that humanitarian aid be provided to establish some stability in this time of war. António Guterres, who directs the UN Refugee agency, says the Syria crisis, “has become the biggest humanitarian emergency of our era, yet the world is failing to meet the needs of refugees and the countries hosting them.”

While there has been a number of donations for Syrian relief, it’s just not enough to keep up with the size of this war. Guterres adds, “The bitter truth is that it falls far short of what’s needed.”

 

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About William Lambers

William Lambers is the author of several books including Ending World Hunger: School Lunches for Kids Around the World. This book features over 50 interviews with officials from the UN World Food Programme and other charities discussing school feeding programs that fight child hunger. He is also the author of Nuclear Weapons, The Road to Peace: From the Disarming of the Great Lakes to the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, Open Skies for Peace, The Spirit of the Marshall Plan: Taking Action Against World Hunger, School Lunches for Kids Around the World, The Roadmap to End Global Hunger, From War to Peace and the Battle of Britain. He is also a writer for the History News Service. His articles have been published by newspapers including the Cincinnati Enquirer, Des Moines Register, the New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Buffalo News, San Diego Union Tribune, the Providence Journal, Free Lance-Star (VA), the Bakersfield Californian, the Washington Post, Miami Herald (FL), Chicago Sun-Times, the Patriot Ledger (MA), Charleston Sunday Gazette Mail (WV), the Cincinnati Post, Salt Lake Tribune (UT), North Adams Transcript (MA), Wichita Eagle (KS), Monterey Herald (CA), Athens Banner-Herald (GA) and the Duluth News Journal. His articles also appear on History News Network (HNN) and Think Africa Press. Mr. Lambers is a graduate of the College of Mount St. Joseph in Ohio with degrees in Liberal Arts (BA) and Organizational Leadership (MS). He is also a member of the Feeding America Blogger Council.

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