|"I See Humans. But No Humanity" - Banksy|
If you have struggled to comprehend the images and stories about Aleppo over the past week, you are not alone. I have been transfixed of late. It is difficult to fathom the terrifying nights and days that children and families have endured over the past few days, let alone five years.
Through all the stories I've seen, what has struck me most, is the number of small children being evacuated. Older siblings taking on their parent's role, makeshift families where people have been thrown together after their homes have been destroyed; all now homeless in desolate streets under desperate conditions. So many displaced in a barely recognisable place, in neighbourhoods which seem more akin to a dsytopian landscape.
The UN Refugee Agency tells us that there are 4.8 million refugees scattered across several countries in the region and globally, and a further 8.7 million Syrians displaced internally. Last Tuesday, the UN has voted to put monitors in place as observers for the Eastern Aleppo evacuation. Yesterday, they voted to create a team to investigate war crimes and human rights abuse. It will be an incredibly difficult road to rebuild Aleppo and other cities, and it will obviously take time, but I sincerely hope, everyone will be able to return to their rightful homes eventually.
This time of the year is full of traditions and celebrations, and as many of us prepare to welcome our own loved ones home for the holiday season, it is easy to turn away from the current events around the globe. Even if we all live oceans away, we are all connected. If it we were in the same situation, how could, we not ask for help? Here are some of the aid agencies and charities helping with the humanitarian efforts on the ground in Syria - please help, if you can by way of donations, or share this message through your networks.
1. Medecins Sans Frontieres ( Doctors Without Borders) providing medical support through six medical facilities across Northern Syria, and through 70 healthcare facilities run by Syrian doctors. To date, they have been denied access to government run areas, and so are limited to operate and provide support to the opposition areas where they support medical facilities and staff. Please help them to keep hospitals and facilities open. Donate
2. The White Helmets are a truly heroes - a band of 3,000 volunteers from all backgrounds, tailors, teachers, bakers and in some cases, ex-soldiers. They collectively form the Syria Civil Defence and seriously, in my opinion should be awarded for their work. If you are looking for a story to follow on this crisis - follow theirs. You can help them rebuild families and save lives. Donate
3. International Rescue Committee are providing emergency supplies people fleeing unsafe areas such as Aleppo, and they support local health facilities, and education for children, and livelihood centres. Donate
4. The International Red Cross working with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent are working jointly to provide food and life-saving support. You can help via their Syria Crisis Appeal. Donate
5. Save the Children - There a several charities on the ground in Syria helping with the children and families during this war. Save the Children are providing food, emergency care, protection, clean water and warm clothes. Please help them. Donate