Throughout the Middle East, people are both externally and internally displaced due to conflicts in the region. One of the direst conflicts continues to be in Syria, where over 6.2 million are internally displaced, according the United Nations High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR). Alongside the internally displaced, the needs of nearly 6.7 million refugees living outside the country continue to be great. The critical response for the refugee situation continues to fall primarily on countries of transit in the region, such as Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, and Egypt. Elsewhere in the Middle East, 4.7 million former Iraqi refugees are returning their home country and are facing the challenges of rebuilding their lives and communities.
The Middle East refugee crisis has extended beyond the region as some refugees flee to Europe to escape conflict and seek asylum. As of March 2020, Serbia is hosting over 26,000 refugees, about a third of which are from Syria and Afghanistan. They are in need of humanitarian assistance and support as they transition into new communities.
In June 2020, along with other church agencies and organizations, the ELCA co-signed a letter to members of Congress in response to U.S. sanctions on Syria. Concerning the lack of support for the humanitarian crisis. They write, “…we urge that the well-being and needs of the most vulnerable people in Syria and throughout the region—who have suffered so greatly as a result of the war—be at the center of our concern.”
Lutheran Disaster Response has been and will continue to use durable solutions to meet the basic humanitarian needs and uphold the rights of those fleeing war and oppression. Throughout Syria, Iraq, Egypt, and Serbia we are working with our trusted partners and companion churches, who are helping provide safety, support and basic amenities. Your gifts can help ensure food security, establish shelter, provide better access to water and sanitation facilities, administer educational support, bolster livelihoods through cash transfers and skills training, provide psychosocial support and more, all for our neighbors in need.
Pray for those who are affected by violence and are vulnerable, that they may be granted peace and healing.
Your gifts are needed now to help with immediate relief. Gifts designated for the Middle East and Europe Refugee Crisis will be used in full (100 percent) to assist those directly impacted and have fled for safety.
To learn more about the situation and the ELCA’s response: