STAMFORD, Conn. -- The Syrian civil war has been a humanitarian catastrophe — and AmeriCares has thrown its resources to help thousands of Syrian refugees for the past three years, said a senior spokesman for the Stamford-based organization.
“AmeriCares has been helping refugees from the Syrian civil war since 2012,” Jed Selkowitz told the Daily Voice.
The organization does not send teams to help with refugees and displaced Syrians on the ground in the country or in neighboring Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan. Instead, AmeriCares has provided $4.4 million in medical and other aid to organizations that are operating on the ground.
AmeriCares has provided general essential primary care and chronic care medicine, other medical care and in some cases nerve gas antidotes, Selkowitz said.
“A lot of our work is providing medicine to our partners,” he said. That help has also extended to medical teams providing medical treatment to Syrian refugees in Greece.
The Syrian refugee crisis has become a political lightning rod, especially since the ISIS terror attacks in Paris last month that left over 100 people dead. But even as many Americans have called for the United States to stop admitting Syrian refugees, AmeriCares and Fairfield-based Save the Children have stepped up efforts to help .
The Syrian situation is not like other disasters, like the one that hit Nepal earlier this year, when thousands of people died after a devastating earthquake, Selkowitz said.
To help, the AmeriCares office in India was able to quickly organize and get supplies to people in neighboring Nepal, he said. In that case, it was also easier to solicit donations due to the immediacy of needs after the earthquake, Selkowitz said. Syria is different, he said.
“It really is a slow-moving crisis that has been building over time,” he said. “This is very difficult in terms of displaced people and a significant need for refugees access to quality medical care and medicine. It is a bit of a different scenario for us.”
The focus is on providing care to families who have endured what he called “a long and brutal civil war.”
“We should be showing no fear we should be showing compassion to them,” Selkowitz said.
For more about the efforts of Save the Children to help Syrian refugees, click here to read a story on the Daily Voice .
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