Despite the onset of winter and the perils of the journey, refugees continue to flee into Europe. More than 3,500 people have died or have been reported missing this year while trying to cross the Mediterranean. At iguacu, we understand this tragedy only too well. The three countries that are the greatest source of the refugees are places we cover on a daily basis and deeply understand – Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.
The statistics can be so huge they become hard to comprehend. More than half of Syria’s population is displaced. In Iraq, more than 8 million people require immediate humanitarian support. In Afghanistan, more than one million children are acutely malnourished. A powerful way to understand daily life there is to imagine it here. It is an exercise that also reminds us of our many blessings. Next time you walk down the street to buy groceries for home is a moment for thought. The footpath exists, and the route is straightforward. When you see an open window you do not fear a bullet. Neighbours are not a routine source of fear. When you look to the sky and think about the weather, you do not fear a bomb falling. When you arrive at the store, groceries are always available, you can afford to buy what you need to survive, and the prices have not changed since yesterday and the day before. As you walk back to your home, you are not stricken with grief at the loss of many extended family, your friends, your town, your community, your heritage, your country. When you hand your child a plate of sandwiches, you do not look into their eyes and see the trauma of a generation, and fear if they will still be here tomorrow, and what will happen to them if you are not.
As our thoughts turn to the holiday season and time with family, it is also a time we can deeply appreciate all our many blessings, and give thought to those without, exposed and vulnerable, through no fault of their own, desperately trying to protect their families and in great need of support. Three great cultures are in crisis and it’s good to know there are effective ways we can help and it can bring and spread joy to be able to reach out and help effectively.
At iguacu, our extensive network of area experts on each country identify effective actions the public can take. In Syria, it is supporting the courageous and effective work of IFRC/SARC. Hit Take Action on our Syria page and you’ll find our restricted IFRC/SARC appeal for Syria. On Afghanistan, it is supporting the excellent work of Afghanaid. For Iraq, our network has advised the most effective action the public can take is spreading awareness, as the alarming humanitarian crisis is largely absent from the news agenda. Read and share Sinan’s blog where you can join our campaign of raising awareness. This holiday season, act effectively with iguacu and give where the need is great. Wishing you and all our many wonderful supporters a joyful and love-filled holiday season.
Photo: Samer AboAlway IFRC/SARC