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Faces of Syrian Refugee Crisis

CARE President Dr. Helene D. Gayle Sees Faces of Syrian Refugee Crisis in Jordan: Leader of global humanitarian organization visits CARE’s work, meets Jordan’s Queen Rania and Prime Minister
From CARE.org

AMMAN (Oct. 2, 2013) – CARE President and CEO Helene D. Gayle visited Jordan this week to see firsthand the poverty-fighting organization’s work with Syrian refugees and meet senior national leaders and officials.

helene

Over half a million Syrians who fled their homeland now live in safe but difficult circumstances in Jordan. And while the public image of the crisis may be that of refugee camps, the vast majority of refugees — 75 percent in Jordan — live outside of camps, struggling to survive in poorer areas of cities. In these urban centers, CARE is helping refugees with emergency cash assistance for shelter, food, and medical care, provision of information on available services, case management and referral services.

“This is the world’s largest refugee crisis since the Rwandan genocide, and yet, in a way, it’s almost invisible,” said Gayle. “But here in the poorest neighborhoods of Amman and other cities of Jordan, inside squalid apartments, seeing the faces of this crisis is unavoidable and shocking. More often than not, they are the faces of mothers and children in desperate living conditions.”

The refugee crisis began in spring 2011, when civil war broke out in Syria. As bombings and shootings escalated, more than 2 million people escaped to neighboring countries like Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. At least three-quarters of the refugees are women and children.

Gayle was particularly moved by Rawda, a Syrian widow who lost her husband in a bomb blast and now is struggling to care for five young children, including a seven-year-old son unable to walk after being injured by a bomb in Syria. “The situation of the people I’ve met is overwhelming. There are mothers and children who have witnessed their husbands or fathers dying in their arms,” Gayle said.

Soaring prices for food, electricity, and rent have swiftly impoverished hundreds of thousands of Syrians. Many refugees are not legally allowed to work in their host countries, so once their savings are gone, they face destitution.

Donor response, however, has not matched the scale of the humanitarian crisis. As of Oct. 2, the UN-led appeal of $4.4 billion is only at 49 percent funded. And CARE has secured less than 25 percent of the anticipated $50 million in funding needed for its life-saving response.

Nonetheless, CARE is scaling up. In Jordan, CARE’s cash grant program gives Syrian and Iraqi families emergency funds to meet urgent needs. CARE is providing life-saving services to Syrian refugees in Jordan and Lebanon and to people affected by the crisis in Syria. As the conflict escalates, CARE is also starting activities in Egypt and Yemen to help Syrian refugees there. CARE is impartial and neutral. Our support to families affected by the crisis in Syria is based on humanitarian needs alone, no matter people’s religion, political affiliation or ethnicity.

Gayle met with Her Majesty Queen Rania Al-Abdullah of Jordan to discuss the Syrian refugee crisis as well as the long-term women’s empowerment programs that CARE runs in Jordan. Gayle recognized the generosity of Jordan in hosting hundreds of thousands of refugees. She repeated that message in a separate meeting with Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour, where discussions focused on how groups such as CARE can best help in a coordinated refugee response.

For all the challenges, Dr. Gayle said she was also left with a sense of hope while talking to refugees. “I see so much strength in women like Rawda. Even as she struggles to feed her own children, she managed to find a way to enroll them in school. I was truly moved by her resilience and determination.”

About CARE: Founded in 1945 with the creation of the CARE Package®, CARE is a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty. CARE has more than six decades of experience delivering emergency aid during times of crisis. Our emergency responses focus on the needs of the most vulnerable populations, particularly girls and women. Last year CARE worked in 84 countries and reached more than 83 million people around the world. To learn more, visit www.care.org.

Syrian Children

Dear Gabriel,

By the time Syrian children have reached Jordan, they’ve seen more than any child should ever have to.

Their country has been swallowed by brutal, unspeakable violence. They arrive in the camps with fear in their hearts. Their lives have been upended and their family members killed by a violent war they can barely understand.

These children – and children just like them around the world – need our help during this time of crisis, and Gabriel, we’re depending on you and other CARE supporters to make it possible for all of these children to know comfort, safety, and hope.

We’re raising $100,000 by Friday to help children and families in Jordan and those suffering around the world. Please make your gift today.

“People are dying like flies.” Ahmad loves his beautiful homeland, but he knew he had no choice but to leave it to keep his family safe.

In the Za’atari camp, Ahmad’s family is packed in with many thousands of others, growing poorer and poorer as the refugee crisis drags on. “I have nine children and my wife. One of the children is only three months old.” It is difficult for him to continue telling us his story. “At home I could take responsibility for all of them. I was working, I earned money to support my family. Now I cannot do anything.”

If only Ahmad’s story was unusual – but it’s not. Tens of thousands of refugees have ones just like it.

Heartbreakingly, the majority of the people living in the camp in Jordan today are innocent children like Ahmad’s – children who have lived through extreme heartbreak, violence, and terror. Their families need emergency assistance just so they’ll have enough food to eat and clothes to keep them warm as winter approaches.

Once their basic needs are taken care of, these Syrian children need psychosocial support. The longer you leave kids alone with their trauma, the more it gets inside of them. CARE is ramping up our support of not only emergency financial assistance, but aid and comfort for children and other vulnerable groups who have already endured too much.

None of the work we do for families living in crisis or squalid poverty is possible without the support of people like you. We desperately need your help today.

We’re raising $100,000 for families living with hunger and poverty in Jordan and around the world by Friday. Please, will you help us meet our goal?

Families are depending on us, and I know we won’t let them down. Thank you so much for everything you do.

Sincerely,

Helene D. Gayle, MD, MPH
President and CEO, CARE

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