Rebekah’s Report- Flight to Syrian’s refugees, how to help

Rebekah Davis, Assistant Editor

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Refugees from Syria are flocking to eastern European countries like Austria, Germany and Bulgaria as crisis and civil war breaking out in the Middle East.

The civil war in Syria started in 2011 when people began protesting against authoritarian President Bashar Assad. The government is still attempting to crush the rebellion by destroying the homes and cities of protestors. The estimated 11 million displaced people have fled to countries like Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan, according to a recent article by Newsweek.

Many refugees have begun fleeing across water and land towards Europe to reach refuge from a tyrannical government. Families have been torn apart through the journey, and thousands of parents have been separated from their children just to reach a place of peace that they can call home.

Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan have suddenly become heavily populated, causing distress in some areas. After some adjustment, the European Union welcomed the refugees with open arms.

One recent spotlight on this situation has been the popularity of a highly- circulated photo. A three- year-old boy washed up on the shore of Turkey face- down after the refugee boat he was in capsized. Wearing a red shirt, blue shorts and Velcro shoes, many viewers found the little boy, Aylan, relatable.

To people all over the world, that picture represented a family member or friend that could be in that situation. The photo, while graphic, brought humanity to the refugee crisis. The gravity of the situation was available in a visual way. This photo started a renewed outpouring of donations and hospitality for refugees.

Nonprofits and humanitarian organizations have contributed to creating a smooth transition to a new life. Donations of food, clothing, water and medical services have been made available for the refugees as they enter into their new home country.

oice of America (VOA), a broadcast network funded by the American government, predicted that the U.S. could expect a wave of refugees to arrive in upcoming months. National non-government humanitarian organizations like GlobalGiving, The Zakat Foundation of America and The American Jewish Joint Distribution Community have already begun to support the efforts overseas while preparing to create a safe place in America for future refugees.

The U.S. has accepted 1,500 refugees so far this year, and it plans to open doors to 10,000 the next fiscal year, according to VOA.

While many refugees tend to settle in larger cities like New York City, Chicago, Washington, D.C. and Denver, there are things that you can do in South Carolina to help those coming into the country.

UNICEF is accepting donations to specifically help provide clean water to children from Syria. Because of their destroyed schools and violence that the children have seen, UNICEF is also providing medical support in some areas. To donate, go to unicef.org/donations/help- syrian-children.

Doctors Without Borders, which provides medical care to refugees; WorldVision,whichprovides water and sanitation; and CARE, which provides cash assistance for supplies and rent for refugees in Jordan, are a few more organizations accepting donations.

While donating is one direct way to help Syrian refugees, another easy way to help is to raise awareness of the situation. By using social media, talking to state representatives and being proactive, people can significantly help the cause. People can make a difference, even if they are not directly involved. Support comes in many different forms, and it is important to remember that nobody is helpless and everybody can contribute.

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