(Updated Dec 14 with additional links)
Not everything travel-related is always lighthearted or fun. Sometimes we have to consider where the world is hurting.
Yesterday, the Battle of Aleppo ended. However, it doesn’t undo the upwards of a quarter million deaths, 11 million displaced Syrian refugees, or the innumerable human rights violations, such as Syrian civilians being shot as they try to flee their homes.
The Syrian Civil War is arguably the worst humanitarian crisis since the Second World War, with over a quarter million killed, roughly the same number wounded or missing, and half of Syria’s 22 million population displaced from their homes. – -Andrew Tabler, an expert on Syria at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy
The United Nations has issued multiple warnings on human rights crises that are occurring: “The crushing of Aleppo, the immeasurably terrifying toll on its people, the bloodshed, the wanton slaughter of men, women and children, the destruction – and we are nowhere near the end of this cruel conflict,” U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein said in a statement. Yet, the U.S. news media has barely even reported on this massive humanitarian crisis, not even as the Battle of Aleppo has come to an end or Syrian citizens have published their cries for help on social media.
You can read more about what’s going on here:
- History of the Syrian war
- Battle of Aleppo ends after years of bloodshed
- Syrians post ‘goodbye’ messages from eastern Aleppo
- Doctors Without Borders: Syria Factsheet
If you’re like me, you might feel at a complete loss for what to do. You want to do something to help, but… how?
Right now, I’m taking action by supporting charities that are doing good work. If you can afford to do so, I highly encourage donating to some or all of the following. Some, like UNICEF, are also offering donation matching until the New Year:
- Doctors without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontiers: Doctors Without Borders operates hospitals and clinics both inside and outside of Syria. They provide mental health care, emergency services, maternity care, and more. They provide medical assistance when “catastrophic events—such as armed conflict, epidemics, malnutrition, or natural disasters—overwhelm local health systems.”
- UNICEF: “UNICEF has been on the ground since the conflict began, helping to mobilize the largest humanitarian operation in history and working closely with partners to provide education, water, health care and immunizations, physical protection, psychological support and clothing to children in Syria and Syrian refugee children.”
- Oxfam: “In Syria, Jordan, and Lebanon, we are helping more than 1.5 million people with life-saving clean water, sanitation, and vital support for families who have lost everything. As more refugees make their way into Europe, Oxfam has set up programs in Greece, Macedonia, and Serbia to help people meet some of their basic needs.”
- Refugees Welcome: This organization is like AirBnB for refugees. As they put it: “Why shouldn’t refugees be able to live in flatshares or houses instead of camps? We thought so too and found a way to make it happen.” Even if your country isn’t listed, you can still donate.
If you’re looking for other charities to donate to, Charity Navigator has a ranked list of charities that are making the most impact in Syria.
Be sure to also check out Public Radio International’s post, which includes some lesser-known charities and their assessment of the best Syrian charities.
UPDATE: The Independent also has an excellent list of charities and decisive actions you can take to help people in Syria.
Last, but not least: if you end up donating, thank you. It really does matter.