A time to help

Refugee cri­sis fo­cus of in­ter­na­tional aid ef­fort

The Compass - - EDITORIAL - BY AN­DREW ROBIN­SON

The Syr­ian refugee cri­sis has been an on­go­ing is­sue ever since civil war broke out in the Mid­dle East coun­try back in 2011.

Mil­lions have fled to Tur­key and Greece in the en­su­ing years, with many dy­ing en route. At­ten­tion to the sit­u­a­tion on this side of the At­lantic Ocean peaked ear­lier this month when a photo emerged of a three-year-old boy on a beach who drowned while at­tempt­ing to flee Syria. He had fam­ily in Canada and there were hopes he would even­tu­ally join them there.

Maj. Brenda Bun­gay from the Sal­va­tion Army church in Bay Roberts re­cently em­pha­sized the need to sup­port ef­forts to help these peo­ple.

“We need to con­sider the priv­i­leges that we have when there’s so many who don’t have what we have,” she told at­ten­dees of an In­ter­na­tional Friend­ship League lun­cheon at the Clarke’s Beach com­mu­nity cen­tre on Sept. 23. “We need to pray for asy­lum seek­ers and refugees who have ex­pe­ri­enced trauma and per­se­cu­tion. Pray for asy­lum seek­ers who have loved ones in their coun­try of ori­gin and who are at risk of harm.”

Bun­gay’s talk came two days af­ter World Peace Day, a United Na­tions ini­tia­tive that pro­motes an end to war and vi­o­lence.

With re­spect to the Syr­ian refugee cri­sis, Bun­gay said it needs to be ad­dressed ur­gently. She said world lead­ers need to come up with so­lu­tions to en­sure those leav­ing the coun­try can find some­where to make a new home.

In the case of her own or­ga­ni­za­tion, the Sal­va­tion Army has as­sisted refugees at rail­way sta­tions, refugee cri­sis cen­tres, and hun­dreds of Sal­va­tion Army fa­cil­i­ties lo­cated in Europe.

The Sal­va­tion Army cur­rently has a fund ded­i­cated to refugees who left Syria. The fed­eral gov­ern­ment will match do­na­tions made to all reg­is­tered char­i­ta­ble or­ga­ni­za­tions as­sist­ing the cri­sis through its own Syria Emer­gency Re­lief Fund, with a ceil­ing set at $100 mil­lion for do­na­tions made up to Dec. 31.

PHOTO BY AN­DREW ROBIN­SON/THE COM­PASS

Maj. Brenda Bun­gay speaks to mem­bers of the In­ter­na­tional Friend­ship League at a lun­cheon in Clarke’s Beach.

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