By Layal Mohammad (Manager, Marketing & Communications, Aga Khan University (International), United Kingdom)
Syria, a beautiful country full of life, warmth, and generosity. These are the memories that I have cherished for years. I was born in Salamiah, surrounded by love from family, friends, and others. Full of ambitions, I had many plans and life was rewarding and opened doors for me.
In 2011, the rhythm of the world changed, and the war started in my homeland. Our lives turned upside down and the ground crumbled under our steady feet. This was a turning point when safety and security lost their meanings, and we had to run blindfolded in the tunnels of the unknown.
Throughout these painful years, Syrians have had to endure war, various calamities, and sanctions that have made life impossible. Food, fuel, electricity, heating, and other basic needs have become a luxury for Syrians, and the country of generosity has become the country of poverty and constant crises. Those who managed to escape war have also been haunted by the constant fear of losing the loved ones. Like lost souls, we are neither here nor there.
A new chapter in the Syrian tragedy came with recent earthquakes that hit Syria and Turkey on Monday 6 February, resulting in thousands of deaths and massive damage on many levels. After years full of adversities, Syria is brought to its knees. Deaths, homelessness, malnutrition, broken hearts, shock, and pain. This is what millions of Syrians are facing now. Their shelter is only dark freezing nights.
With the insufficient support and unjust sanctions that have crippled people since 2011, Syria has been left alone to deal with its deep scars. Syrians and others, inside and outside, have been trying hard to help, but this has not been enough given the disastrous situation and countless constraints that have been hindering the country’s infrastructure for years.
The Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), represented by its various agencies, especially the Aga Khan Agency for Habitat (AKAH), has also been putting immense efforts on the ground and collaborating with Focus Humanitarian Assistance (FOCUS), Red Crescent, UN agencies and others in response to this severe catastrophe. Shelters, food, medical and psychological support have urgently been offered. However, we still have millions of people who have been impacted and need urgent humanitarian aid.
The disaster is not temporary and its consequences will last for years, or even forever; and the questions of those who lost everything arise. Now, more than ever, we are crying for help and trying to bring awareness as we have reached the bottom, falling from a high sky.
No one is ok, and no one is safe. This new tragedy has unveiled many weaknesses and challenges that are undermining the recovery. Following this phase, we will have another difficult phase: meeting the essential needs of all those people who have lost everything: houses, professions, family members, etc.
Your support during this difficult time is essential as the effects of this new humanitarian crisis are dire and cannot be ignored. By donating via the links below, as well as raising awareness about the situation in Syria and impact of sanctions on people and their daily lives, you are making a big difference.
To ensure that the donations support AKDN efforts in Syria, please write “Earthquake/Syria” in the comment section on the Donate page:
FOCUS UK and Europe : https://www.focus-europe.org/en/donate/
FOCUS Canada: https://www.focusstar.ca/donate-now