The war in Syria seems to have reached fever pitch, with reports coming out in the last couple of days of civilians in Aleppo being shot on sight as the government forces take back control of the city.
Sometimes a situation can seem so desperate and intractable that it feels useless to care or to try to do something. But there are still plenty of people working on the ground to try and save Syrians.
Here are three ways that we can help.
Irish Aid, which disperses international aid on behalf of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, specifically list the UN and the Red Cross Networks as partners they work with in Syria.
The UN has a number of organisations working to provide relief in the area, including UNICEF, the children’s fund, UNDP, which helps to rebuild war torn areas, and UNCERF, the UN’s emergency response fund. All of these agencies are currently looking for donations.
The UN has the advantage of a global reach and bodies which are accountable to the member countries.
The Red Cross is the general go to organisation for delivering aid in war torn areas. You can donate to the Irish Red Cross here, and they provide a specific option to donate to Syria.
Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders has all but been kicked out of Syria due to the continuous bombings of hospitals. However, they are still trying to treat people on the outskirts of Syria.
There are other Syria-based charities you can donate to, such as The White Helmets, which rescue people from the rubble.
2. Support refugee relocation efforts
Syria is a horrific war zone, and as a result nearly five million people have become refugees, not including those who have relocated within Syria. While the majority of refugees have settled in surrounding countries, these countries lack the resources to support the huge influx of people and many of them also face war or terrorism, like Iraq. We need to do our part, either by taking more refugees, or by giving more money to the major recipients to help them cope.
The UNHCR, which coordinates refugee camps and relief efforts, is desperately looking for donations and needs political support of citizens around the world.
3. Contact your local politician
You can email, phone or send your local TD or MEP a letter outlining why you are concerned about the situation in Syria and what action you want them to take, whether that’s for the government to give more towards relief efforts or for them to agitate for more action at the international level.
If you do any of these, tell your friends. It might encourage them to do the same.