The global humanitarian agency World Vision has launched relief efforts to help Syrian children and families seeking asylum in Europe. Today, the agency began distributing baby kits and items for mothers and their families currently living in camps in Subotica and Kanjiza in northern Serbia, near the Hungarian border. These distributions will continue in the days ahead as additional resources become available. World Vision teams are also assessing the possibility of setting up Child-friendly Spaces and providing blankets and mattresses before winter comes.
The work being done in Europe complements World Vision's long-standing relief efforts to help Syrian refugees and internally displaced people in the Middle East, which began in March 2011. Since that time, World Vision has reached approximately two million people with food and food vouchers, water, household and hygiene supplies and educational support for children who have been without access to schooling. World Vision is active in working with Syrian refugees in Lebanon and Jordan and with displaced populations within Syria itself and in Iraq.
"Like millions of Canadians, I've been watching the unfolding refugee crisis in Europe with deep concern," says Michael Messenger, president and CEO of World Vision Canada. "The fact that parents are willing to undertake the perilous journey by sea to get to Europe illustrates how desperate they are to keep their children safe and ensure they have a future."
"The situation facing Syrian refugees in Lebanon and Jordan is growing more difficult with each passing month," Conny Lenneberg, Response Leader for World Vision's Middle East/Eastern Europe region. "The two countries are staggering under the burden of hosting almost two million people Syrian refugees within their borders, which puts immense strain on health care, education and other infrastructure and increases tensions between local families and refugees."
"Canadians have clearly been moved by the plight of Syrian refugees and now, more than ever, support is needed to care for children and families," Michael Messenger adds. "I urge all Canadians to learn more about the Syrian crisis and consider making a donation to World Vision's Syrian crisis relief efforts."
- According to the latest estimates, more than 4 million Syrians have fled their homes to escape conflict in the country, with the majority fleeing to Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt.
- An estimated 340,000 asylum seekers have arrived in Europe so far in 2015, coming from Syria and the Middle East, but also regions affected by conflict and food insecurity in Africa and Afghanistan.
- World Vision is accepting donations for its specific response to the Syrian crisis, but also through its Raw Hope program, which aims to help children in the world's most dangerous countries.