Refugee crisis: why should we care?

By June 4, 2015
VBB_refugee tents
(Graphic courtesy VBB)

(Graphic courtesy VBB)

Middle East (MNN) — Are you tired of hearing about the refugee crisis created by ISIS and Syria’s civil war?

That’s exactly what Vision Beyond Borders’ (VBB) Patrick Klein is afraid of.

“The situation is not getting any better; it’s only getting worse,” says Klein. “My concern is that we don’t become donor fatigued; that people say, ‘Well, it’s a hopeless cause. Let’s just throw up our hands and say forget it.'”

Kurdistan is apparently growing weary of Iraq’s refugee influx. According to Klein, some 500,000 Iraqi refugees were recently turned away by the Kurds.

“The Kurdish government is saying, ‘We can’t handle this; this would be $1.2 billion to bring in 500,000 more refugees,” he reports.

As NY Times reported last week, refugees in Iraq are running out of options, and neighboring countries like Jordan are running out of space.

While Syrian refugees still make up the majority of Jordan’s refugee population at nearly 750,000, Iraqi refugees are adding to the influx. According to UN statistics, over 58,000 Iraqi refugees were registered in Jordan at the beginning of the year.

In April, the UNHCR reported it has only 1% of the funding it needs to help Iraqi refugees in Jordan. Aid agencies and NGOs expressed similar concerns during March’s 2015 World Humanitarian Summit.

VBB_refugee tents

(Photo courtesy VBB)

However, bleak statistics and little-to-no international attention isn’t holding VBB back.

They’re currently gathering and packing much-needed supplies and preparing to ship those items to their partners in the Middle East.

“The [shipments] that are going to Jordan have clothes; they have medical supplies, personal hygiene supplies,” shares Klein.

“The ones that’ll be going to northern Iraq will be focusing more on getting hygiene supplies and school supplies [to] help the Christians and Yazidis living as refugees…help them set up little schools.”

School supplies are especially important, Klein shares, because most refugee kids are without any routine and have nothing to do. By sending school supplies, VBB’s partners can help teachers in the refugee camps set up and start schools for refugee children.

These are just some of the many reasons for VBB to press on, but Klein says one reason takes precedence.

“We’re offering them [refugees] life instead of death, and they’re opening up to the Gospel,” he shares. “They see the brutality of Islam and they’re saying, ‘We don’t want this.'”

(Graphic courtesy VBB)

(Graphic courtesy VBB)

As VBB builds relationships with refugees and helps meet physical needs, their partners offer a different message.

“We’re saying, ‘Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ died on the cross for us and made the way for us to have eternal life,'” says Klein.

It’s clearly making a difference, as many refugees have given their lives to Christ because they’re tired of radical Islam. Click here to help VBB fill their containers, or click here to donate and help VBB purchase needed supplies.

Pray that they will be able to continue being the hands, feet, and voice of Christ amid refugee populations.

“Because we have the Spirit of God living within us, the Holy Spirit, we should have compassion,” Klein notes.

“We should be the ones going out and helping these people, and…presenting the Truth of Jesus Christ to them, because He is our only hope.”

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