The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Crisis in Syria continues

Winter is on the way for a growing number of people who fled Syria to Jordan and other surrounding countries. Some 95,000 Syrian refugees are registered in Jordan, but at presstime in October the U.N. projected that number would increase to 250,000 by year's end.

At one refugee camp in Za'atri, Jordan, "52 percent of the population here are children, facing a winter soon to come with low temperatures and rain," said Lutheran World Federation General Secretary Martin Junge.

holding babyJunge traveled to the camp Sept. 27 with LWF President Munib A. Younan to see the LWF-supported humanitarian effort.

Helping the Jordan Hashemite Charity Organization, which manages the camp, the LWF is providing winterized tents, prefab containers and warm clothing for children. Few have shoes. With little to do, the children's restlessness often ends in quarrels or fights.

"I see traumatized people that have escaped violence, and how violence is shaping the way people relate to the situation," Junge said. "We will have to scale up our efforts jointly so people can live in basic dignity."

The LWF is sought-after for its expertise and experience in the region. When drought struck from 1958 to 1962, the organization helped the Jordanian government distribute food, especially flour, to Bedouin communities at risk of starvation. Over a period of three years, nearly 5 million pounds of flour was distributed to more than 179,000 people.

For the current crisis, the ELCA sent $450,000 ($200,000 for internal use in Syria and $250,000 for the camp). To help, send checks (write "Syria Response" in the memo line) to ELCA Disaster Response, 39330 Treasury Center, Chicago, IL 60694-9300 or call 800-638-3522.


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