Portraits of the Syrian Refugee Crisis

BARDARASH, Iraq – More than 13,000 Syrian refugees have embarked on harrowing journeys through the conflict zones in their own country to find safety in neighboring Iraq. Their first stop across the border is the Sehela transit centre where Samaritan’s Purse staff has been present to greet them, help serve a meal, and offer them hygiene and dignity kits, complete with soap, lotion, a toothbrush and toothpaste, feminine products, and other essentials. They have distributed 2,900 of these kits to date.

After less than 24 hours at Sehela, the refugees board buses that take them to a more permanent refugee camp. More than 12,000 people now reside in Bardarash camp—the majority of whom are women and children. While necessities are scarce, Samaritan’s Purse is providing water, sanitation, and hygiene services to ease their burdens. We have repaired over 400 latrines that were previously unusable.

Hear are some of the stories of those families who are seeking safety and a new life.

Jessica Lutz, Samaritan’s Purse:

“This morning, we’re on the border of Syria and the Kurdish region of Iraq. Overnight, hundreds of refugees from Syria have crossed into Iraq. And we are just here to show them that we care and that, more importantly, God cares about them. They had to leave everything, and through rough conditions, they’re coming here. And you can see their shoes are really muddy. Their pants are muddy. They’re wet. We’re getting into the winter months, and so it’s cold. We did see a lot of children arrive this morning, even mothers carrying infants, which that must be just a tremendous journey for them. I can’t imagine. I can’t imagine being a kid and having to leave everything.”

Basam, Syrian Kurdish Refugee:

“In my family, I have a wife and three daughters.
One is seven months,
one is two years,
one is three years.
I don’t bring anything—
only my clothes and two bags of clothes for my children.
What can you lift? You cannot lift anything!
Only can lift yourself.”

Jessica Lutz, Samaritan’s Purse:

“Lord, we pray that You would continue to journey with them and that You would comfort them. We pray that they would know Your presence with them as they get settled. We see all over the Bible that Jesus and the Lord cares for the poor, the needy, the hurt. He comforts them. He comforts the broken hearted, and so I think it’s important that as Christians we show that, we show that God cares.

We are providing them dignity kits, hygiene kits. They’ve had to leave mostly everything behind, and so we’re giving them something to start here in Iraq. We’re here to show them that we care and that the Lord cares about them. People all over the world can be praying for the refugees, that God would comfort them, that He would provide for their needs. People can be praying for us at Samaritan’s Purse, that we would be able to meet some of these needs in Christ’s Name.”

The Samaritan’s Purse International Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) program is committed to meeting the critical needs of victims of war, poverty, famine, disease, and natural disaster. We stand ready to respond at a moment’s notice whenever and wherever disaster strikes. The DART specializes in providing water, food, shelter, and medical care while sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ.

To read more news on Disaster Relief on Missions Box, go here.


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