As Syrians continue to watch their nation disintegrate, Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) has become a leading Canadian responder there. Its long-standing relationships in the area mean it can work both in refugee camps outside Syria and in some of the hardest hit areas within the country, supporting various local partners, including churches. The warring parties finally met for talks in Geneva last month, but little came of it. And, according to a British-based organization that tracks deaths in Syria, fighting killed nearly 1,900 Syrians, including at least 430 civilians, during the week of peace talks. That is an average week in this conflict that started in 2011. The Associated Press reports that 130,000 have died thus far and one-third of Syria’s 23 million people have been forcibly displaced. While MCC has struggled to bring in donations for Syria—$1.8 million over two years, compared to far more for Super Typhoon Haiyan—it is doing much better than other Canadian nongovernmental organizations. MCC’s overall response, including government grants and material aid, totals $15.3 million. While MCC is uniquely positioned to respond to the Syrian crisis, it is limited by a lack of resources, says MCC’s Bruce Guenther. “We have requests every day that we can’t meet.” For more information, or to respond, visit mcccanada.ca/syriacrisis.
--Posted Feb. 26, 2014