BEIRUT—“Syrians are everywhere,” an aid worker told me. “Everybody is poor now.” Well over a million Syrians are scattered across Lebanon, many in small “tented settlements.” Almost half live in sub-standard housing; many lack fuel and warm clothes for winter.
Jordan hosts even more Syrians at greater cost. (So does Turkey, though it is much larger and wealthier.) Six of every seven refugees live in poverty.
Almost five years of civil war have killed a quarter of a million Syrians, wrecked the country, created economic catastrophe, displaced millions, and left virtually no one unaffected. As many as five million people have fled to surrounding countries.
Thus, the stampede of Syrian migrants to Europe should not surprise the rest of the world. Americans traditionally have offered sanctuary to those fleeing repression and war. But, apparently, not now.
Private relief groups offer the best means for Americans to help Syrians in need. There are many worthy organizations. Earlier this year, I traveled with International Orthodox Christian Charities to Lebanon and Jordan to view several aid projects. Since 2012, the charity has helped more than 3.2 million Syrians throughout the Middle East.
Much of IOCC’s work is conducted in Syria. More than half Syria’s population now is estimated to require outside aid.