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Syrian refugee relief hindered by low funds

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
ATHENS (BP) -- Southern Baptists are reaching out to the growing numbers of Syrians fleeing violence in their country, but financial reserves are inadequate to meet the needs.

"Many of us have seen the ongoing human suffering in Syria," said Jeff Palmer, executive director of Baptist Global Response, an international relief and development organization. "BGR and its partners have been responding to needs of refugees flooding out of the country. Projects in neighboring countries are helping with food, temporary shelter, clothing and household necessities."

To date, Southern Baptists through BGR have provided about $160,000 of relief supplies, but two new requests for help amount to $300,000, Palmer said.

"The World Hunger Fund reserve is low, and we will only be able to respond to about half of these needs," Palmer said.

A ceasefire was signed in Syria nearly two weeks ago, and United Nations observers have been in the country for more than a week -- yet violence continues, according to news reports.

"Refugees are pouring out of the country," Palmer said. "Their numbers are just constantly growing."


If humanitarian workers are going to be able to share the love of Christ with the multitude of refugees seeking assistance, donations are urgently needed, Palmer said.

"Jesus told His followers to 'work while it is day,' and right now we have the opportunity of daylight with these refugees," Palmer said. "As volatile as the region is, night may be coming and no one will be able to work. We need people who care about people in need to take advantage of the daylight, so the love of God can be demonstrated for these families in crisis."

The Southern Baptist World Hunger Fund is on the Web at Mark Kelly writes for Baptist Global Response (

Copyright (c) 2012 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press

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