In the Middle East Gulf regions affected by war and other major conflicts, there are many crises impacting the region’s people. From refugees trying to flee countries like Syria to children being killed and injured amidst the Yemen conflict, the tragedies are everywhere you look. There are people making an effort to help, though, and they represent a small light of hope in these terrible situations.
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For years, Syrian nationals have been trying to escape by crossing into Europe, Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon, but they have found less help within some of the wealthier Gulf states. Work permits are hard to secure in several Arab countries and that’s leaving many Syrians with limited options.
Syrian refugees in Hungary: ‘This is the so-called developed Europe?’ http://t.co/WiZMpD0Myh pic.twitter.com/RSzvPIIiC0
— Sir Arnold Robinson (@uk_expat) September 7, 2015
Social media has been used in the fight to end this oppression and encourage more countries to open their doors to refugees of war-torn countries like Syria. A trending hashtag on Twitter of #Welcoming_Syria’s_refugees_is_a_gulf_duty has gone viral. In its first week, it was used in more than 33,000 tweets.
The hashtag #Welcoming_Syria‘s_refugees_is_a_Gulf_duty, used more than 33,000 times on #Twitter in the past week pic.twitter.com/raJSsNuchy — Cristina Casabón (@casabonnline) September 5, 2015
Even in Denmark, a Syrian community page on Facebook shared a video that showed migrants entering Austria from Hungary and begging for more countries to welcome more Muslim immigrants. The Makkah newspaper in Saudi Arabia published a cartoon that mocked their own country’s refusal to let Syrian refugees in.
In Yemen, the conflict is affecting the country’s children in alarming numbers. Since March, at least 398 children were killed and another 608 have been seriously injured. They are being recruited and used in the conflict, and the numbers keep growing. When you combine this with the serious lack of health care, safe drinking water and sanitation, it is a major crisis. Right now, 1.8 children in Yemen are likely to suffer from malnutrition by the end of 2015.
UNICEF has been at the center of the humanitarian operations in Yemen since the beginning of the conflict. They have been responding to the critical needs of children by providing life-saving services, medical aid and safe drinking water. UNICEF is still tremendously under-funded in their Yemen efforts, though. “We urgently need funds so we can reach children in desperate need,” said Julien Harneis, UNICEF Representative. “We cannot stand by and let children suffer the consequences of a humanitarian catastrophe.”
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As tragic as these events are in the Middle East, it is inspiring to see people, organizations and other countries striving to make a positive impact to help those affected by these conflicts. It’s important to not turn a blind eye to what’s happening in the world and use any opportunity to help those in need.