After five years of war in Syria — a ceasefire and peace talks. What does this mean for the hundreds of thousands of people who fled from the fighting?
Christians and Yazidis from Northern Iraq fled from the atrocities of ISIS when the jihadists captured their city two years ago. Today, many of them still live in refugee camps and depend on aid from the international community. Adults can’t find work, children cannot go to school, and they wonder whether ever to return to normal life in your home? We ask that you continue to remember them in your prayers.
Millions of refugees left neighbouring Syria. The civil war there has entered its sixth year — it’s hard to believe! Now peace negotiations, but at least 250 thousand people have died in the fighting. What began as a rebellion against the government of Assad, developed into full-scale conflict involving Russia and the United States. He also contributed to the rise of the “Islamic state”, which is known to have established a Muslim Caliphate in parts of Syria and Northern Iraq. A large part of the Syrian population fled the country, causing a major refugee crisis has gripped neighboring country. Christian humanitarian organization World Vision helps many of these refugees. Recently, a journalist MHN talked with the Director of the Department on assistance to Syria Wynn Platinum.
Wynn Flaten, “World Vision”:
Continues to increase the number of people who suffer from this crisis. They are trying to overcome it, leaving this region, continuing to move from Syria to neighboring countries, and it indicates that the situation continues to deteriorate. I think this is especially true for families with children. People trying to keep families together, but to achieve this now is particularly difficult.
MAN: I know you helped the refugees, but now that the cease-fire as World Vision and other similar organizations help people inside Syria?
The last six months, the intensity of the fighting increased, and access to a variety of territorial communities became more difficult. Currently, in the conditions of ceasefire and situation of the cessation of hostilities, we pretty safely can visit more settlements, but it is unclear how long it will continue.
MHN: Going peace negotiations. How big is the probability that these people will be able to return to their homes, and what happens if they do? Will they still need help?
World Vision has just completed a study on the issue of costs needed to overcome the crisis in Syria. At the moment it is 275 billion dollars. And this does not include rehabilitation costs. So this is a huge task. In addition, with regard to social consequences, especially for children, who will inherit Syria, and it will restore it to 24.5 million years of lost education. So we see that we face a very difficult task.
MHN: the end of the war, which is the main thing that can make a world community to help refugees right now?
Recently, World Vision conducted a survey in the United States, and 70% of respondents expressed a willingness to help. 44% said that they are already doing something. And only 30% said that they pray about this crisis. So, of course, prayer is the number one priority. As Christians, we must pray for the grace of God and the resolution of the conflict. The second challenge is to be more informed. Such a conflict often makes people feel a certain sense of detachment.
MHN: one More question. As you know, World Vision is a Christian organization, and many of the victims are Muslims. How do they react when they see the activity of the Christian organizations who help them?
We work with all organisations, regardless of religion, race or creed. They understand that we have a different religion, but still we were received very well wherever we went to work.
MAN: Well, Wynn Flaten from World Vision, our prayers are with you and your team. Thank you for participating in our program.