Iraqi refugees forgotten in Jordan

By April 16, 2007

Jordan (MNN) — It's been four years since the fall of Baghdad. Today suicide bombings are common. Insurgent attacks happen almost every day. This violence has forced Iraqis to leave their nation which has become wrought with violence, uncertainty, and hopelessness.

Speaking from Amman, Jordan, World Vision's Lindsay Gladding said they're focused on those who have left Iraq. "The UN is estimating that there are over 2 million Iraqi refugees that have crossed the border, and at least 750,000 of those are in Jordan."

The refugee population is diverse. Gladding says Sunnis, Shea, Christians, Chaldeans, and Jewish people are all represented.

Gladding says this is a major human crisis. She says, "Part of World Vision's strategy here is that we're very much calling on the international community to recognize this as a crisis. Every family that I have talked to in the last three weeks [wants] people to listen and to hear their stories."

According to Gladding, seeking refuge in Jordan hasn't been all that the people had hoped for. "They are not able to work. They cannot send their children to school. I've met 8 and 10-year-old children who have never set foot inside a classroom. That's something that we really need to see changed here."

Since the Jordanian infrastructure can handle the additional 750,000 people, World Vision is there helping. "We are helping to provide basic necessities like food and medicines. We're also setting up places for children to be able to come and play and really start to heal and get some sort of normalcy in their lives."

World Vision is working through the local church, which is giving many opportunities for them to serve. "The atmosphere here is very much one of open religion and tolerance. And people understand that we are Christians and that's what motivates us to help people and to listen and to speak out on their behalf because they have been forgotten and silenced."

Funding is needed to help World Vision meet the needs of children physically and  spiritually. Gladding says, "This is a tragic situation with children who really have no hope for the future and are trapped."

Go to WorldVision.org to help.  

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