Written by Phyllis Richards
|Fleeing the violence in Syria with only the clothes on their backs, this refugee mother and her children welcome the quilts and personal hygiene kits distributed by IOCC at Domiz Refugee Camp in northwestern Iraq. Many of the refugee families are ethnic Iraqis who fled their own country's conflict a decade ago to settle in Syria. (Photo: CAPNI)|
A decade ago, they fled war in Iraq to find refuge in Syria. Now, as Syria's spreading civil conflict enters its third year, Iraqi refugee families that had settled in Syrian cities such as Aleppo and Damascus are forced to flee again. The number of Syrian refugees now living in Iraq has swelled to over 175,000 and continues to increase.
Many end up in Domiz camp located in northwestern Iraq, where refugees arriving at a rate of more than 800 people per day are critically overcrowding a settlement already filled with more than 35,000 refugees. Thousands of families are forced to share tents with newly arrived refugees who arrive with nothing. International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) is responding to the immediate needs of the refugee families flowing into Iraq with a distribution of urgently needed bedding and hygiene kits for more than 9,800 men, women and children in Domiz Refugee Camp in Iraq.
Since 2007, Iraqi refugees living in Syria have been assisted with educational support, school supplies, tutoring and personal care kits to thousands of Iraqi refugee schoolchildren, as well as vocational and
business training for Iraqi refugee men and women resettled in Syria when conflict forced them to flee their own country.
This latest response is part of a larger humanitarian effort by IOCC to provide emergency relief to vulnerable families affected by the civil conflict in Syria. According to the latest UN figures, 6.8 million people are in need across all 14 of Syria's governorates. IOCC, in cooperation with the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All The East (GOPA), continues to expand its response to the spreading humanitarian crisis in Syria with relief efforts stretching across many of the country's 14 governorates. Through its efforts to gain greater access to affected Syrians, IOCC is reaching families and elderly living in some of the most volatile areas, bringing them essential aid such as food and cooking stoves, bedding and clothing and providing trauma counseling to children and adults.
This humanitarian crisis brought on by the conflict in Syria has resulted in assistance being provided for more than 650,000 Syrian children, women and men displaced in their own country or living as refugees in Jordan, Lebanon and now, Iraq.
Gifts to One Great Hour of Sharing support Syrian Refugees, and partner Organizations, IOCC and GOPA.