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Refugee life grows desperate in Turkey

By February 8, 2016

Turkey (MNN) — Burgeoning refugee camps in Turkey have gone from bad to worse. The growing crowds are bringing in sicknesses, and food is scarce.

In response, leaders from more than 70 nations are meeting in London to discuss raising money for the 4.59 million registered Syrian refugees who have crossed the borders into Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, and a number of European countries.

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Refugee children await help at a tent camp in Adana, Turkey. (Photo, caption courtesy of Christian Aid Mission)

The hope is to raise billions of dollars in order to provide refugees with homes, education, and supplies.

The BBC has reported the pledges of the EU ($3.3 billion), Germany ($2.6 billion), the UK ($1.7 billion), and the US ($925 million). This money will be spent over the next 12 months.

Of the Syrian refugees that have fled their home country and registered with the UN, more than 2.3 million are currently residing in Turkey. Approximately 9% of this population is living in refugee camps, Christian Aid Mission reports.

But after Russian strikes on Syria’s Aleppo, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu expects the number to increase by up to 70,000.

Refugee desperation grows as winter bites

Christian Aid Mission reports it is one of the coldest winters on record in the country and swine flu is currently spreading throughout camps. At least 500 have been affected and 57 have died. Most recently, two Syrians and a pregnant Turkish woman have fallen victim to the disease.

Children are running around without shoes and socks. Newborns have no baby formula and “tight quarters” doesn’t even begin to describe the close proximity of neighbors.

A ministry partner of Christian Aid Mission is reaching out to two camps. One has about 600 people living in 85 tents, the other has about 7,000 living in 1,200 tents.

With the expected 70,000 more to come, there are few answers, but a number of refugees are looking to ministries for support and supplies, Christian Aid Mission among these.

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A refugee woman is overjoyed to receive a heater from an indigenous ministry distributing supplies in Adana, Turkey. (Photo, caption courtesy of Christian Aid Mission)

A refugee recently called their indigenous partner begging for supplies for his family because he had nothing to give them. “He kept saying that we are the only ones helping them,” said the Turkish ministry director.

“They cannot work [in the fields] in winter, and he said kids were eating their own snot. I was wordless! I couldn’t speak for 20 seconds. I didn’t know what to say. He said it’s very hard to see children die in front of them, and they are not able to do anything; they are starving and trembling from the cold.”

The ministry team is seeing more refugees arrive every day without means of survival.

They’re providing for physical needs and want to continue doing so with more than 150 heaters, 300 blankets, baby formula, diapers, socks, shoes, water, and food. But it’s a big job, and they need your help with the project. Click here to see how you can help provide for families seeking survival.

Even though the times are rough, hope is rising. Christian Aid Mission’s partner is going from tent to tent to share the Gospel, pray with families, and distribute Bibles. They’ve already seen two Syrians accept Christ and a number of others are asking questions about the Bible.

Right now, meeting physical needs is important, as is raising money for the sake of survival. But prayer is key in this fight. Only God can turn the bad into the good and restore hope.

  • Pray for emotional strength for both ministries and refugees.
  • Pray for enough physical provisions and for Bibles.
  • Pray that sicknesses will stop spreading.
  • Pray for hunger for eternal hope beyond this life.

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