SEATTLE — Since the beginning of the Syrian crisis in 2011, more than 4.5 million individuals, mainly women and children, fled the nation. The world faces one of the most challenging refugee crises in world history; as many as 6100 Syrians are displaced each day. In response to this exodus, a surge of aid organizations working in Syria have experienced tremendous success in relief efforts.
Founded in 1919, Save the Children works in 120 countries to meet children’s basic needs and offer trauma support. In 2016, the organization not only provided assistance for more than 157 million children worldwide; they also specifically spent much time on the ground in Syria and cooperated with partner agencies to ensure that children and their families have access to primary health care, nutrition, education and psychosocial services.
Another aid organization working in Syria is Islamic Relief USA, a group that began in 1993 and maintains an ongoing dedication to aiding in relief efforts and development regardless of gender, race, or religion to help establish the world without poverty. The organization has assisted nearly 3.9 million Syrians. Its most recent success included distributing food packages to more than 70,000 people during the Preparedness and Emergency Response in Aleppo Governorate project.
The World Food Programme (WFP) provides further assistance to individuals enduring the crisis. Launching its first development program in Sudan in 1963, the WFP provides immediate aid to nations in distress, responding to crises such as the 1984 Ethiopian famine. In 2016, the WFP delivered food to 5.1 million people in Syria, including 3.6 million internally displaced people and 2.8 million children. The WFP distributed more than 800,000 food boxes each month; every box held enough food to last a family of five an entire month.
Relief International, a nonprofit founded in 1990, further aids Syrian refugees. Based in Turkey by 2013, it served more than 2.5 million refugees, granting cash assistance, providing children with education and assisting with mental health issues. Since then, it has expanded its aid efforts to include Lebanon (where a quarter of the population consists of Syrian refugees), Jordan and Iraq, granting medical and educational support to individuals living in communities and refugee camps.
Emphasizing worldwide justice, Mercy Corps prides itself on ethical action, peace and valuing the dignity of all human beings. Working to assist millions of Syrian refugees, Mercy Corps maintains a dedication to ongoing humanitarian efforts by supplying hundreds of thousands of people each month with food, water, blankets and essential supplies. Mercy Corps also works within the nation to deliver food and clean water, help children cope with the stress of war and improve shelter for families. It has reached 2.5 million people.
Since 1950, the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has dedicated itself to saving lives, protecting rights and improving refugees’ future. It, too, has been one of the most critical aid organizations working in Syria. It provides the most vulnerable populations with money for medicine and food, stoves and fuel, insulation for tents, thermal blankets and winter clothes. In the beginning of 2017, the UNHCR joined other U.N. humanitarian and development agencies to call upon global leaders to increase funds by $8 billion to help millions in Syria and throughout the area.
There are a plethora of aid organizations working in Syria. Through support for these organizations and U.S. legislation that provides additional aid to countries like Syria, successful relief efforts will multiply in the future.
– Emily Chazen