The Methodist Relief and Development Fund (MRDF) is continuing to respond to the humanitarian crisis caused by the conflict in Syria.
According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, nearly 1.3 million Syrians have now registered as refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, Turkey and Egypt. Thousands more are fleeing the conflict every day and at present over 200,000 are still awaiting registration.
MRDF is responding to the crisis through the ACT Alliance (Action by Churches Together) partners, the global network of churches and related relief organisations. MRDF supporters have so far donated over £18,000 to its Syria Crisis Appeal. These funds will go to support the work of ACT member agency The Lutheran World Federation (LWF), which is working with Syrian refugees in Jordan.
Through a programme coordinated by its Department for World Service (DWS), the LWF has been providing relief and support for Syrian refugees at Za’atari Camp in collaboration with the Jordanian government since August 2012.
Za’atari Camp (Learn more Za’atari Refugee Camp in pictures. – photos taken Nov.2012)
Since it opened in August 2012, Jordan’s Za’atari Camp has been a 24 hour-a-day operation.
This camp is now home to over 100,000 refugees, with more arriving every day. In a report on the situation, the ACT Alliance have said that the number of Syrian refugees is also putting pressure on national resources in Jordan including food, water, health, and education. This is contributing to increased tensions between host and refugee communities.
Prices of food and other commodities are constantly rising and many Jordanians blame the increasing Syrian refugee population for the soaring cost of living. Because of this, humanitarian agencies are planning programs to ease tensions between the two groups and to promote peaceful coexistence.
LWF have been working hard to provide shelter, camp management, psychosocial support and education services to improve conditions. Over the winter, LWF provided 2,200 winterised tents with cooking gas and prefabricated shelters. One of the main priorities was distributing warm garments for 33,000 people as temperatures dropped below freezing.
A safer place to play
One family who has benefited from LWF’s help is that of 55-year-old grandmother Omm Yaser. ‘We received the shelters during the rains, but before the snowfall. Our first night in the prefabricated shelter was the first night we felt safe and warm in Za’atari refugee camp’.
The shelters have also provided an alternative safe space to play for her grandchildren. Amjad, Yaser’s 30-year-old son, explains ‘We were always worried about the kids playing outside. The only outdoor spaces are basically in the street where camp vehicles are operating, making it dangerous for them to play. When we received the six prefabricated shelters, we arranged them to make an inner courtyard which became a safe playground for the children’.
Refugees in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Armenia still desperately need your support. Please give whatever you can to help agencies like LWF to provide life-saving assistance to those in greatest need. See website http://www.mrdf.org.uk
If you would prefer to donate by telephone using a credit or debit card, call 020 7224 4814. To donate by post, send a cheque made payable to ‘MRDF’ to MRDF, 25 Marylebone Rd, London NW1 5JR, stating your gift is for the Syria Appeal.