You’re Showing Up in the Wake of Chemical Attacks – An Update from Syria

Three weeks ago, the world was stunned by another chemical attack in Syria. But you refused to just stand by and watch. In the midst of your heartbreak, you leaped into action. Right now, thanks to you, families in Syria are getting the help they need to put their lives back together, even as war still rages around them.

When we asked what people needed in the wake of those attacks, they asked for solutions that went beyond just meeting emergency medical needs. “Instead of merely reacting to the atrocity,” our team in Syria told us, “[we need to] holistically respond to these people’s needs right now.”

That’s what you did.

Many families were driven from their homes by the chemical attack. Airstrikes have continued to pound the area in the days since—including the day of our initial distribution. But your love keeps showing up.

The response that we came up with, in partnership with our team on the ground, meets people’s real needs—needs we wish they didn’t have.

We wish that families didn’t need the cleaning kits you provided to help them get toxic chemical residue out of their homes, clothes, and bedding.

We wish they didn’t need a month’s worth of food because they had to choose between working and caring for injured family members.

We wish they didn’t need kitchen and cooking supplies because theirs were blown up by airstrikes or had to be abandoned in their rush to safety.

And we deeply hope they don’t need the training and informational brochures they asked us for, that teach them what to do during a chemical attack.

It breaks our hearts that this is anyone’s reality. But because it is, you are responding.

Nearly 2,500 families indicated that they needed one or all of these resources, and our team started distributing them this week. Yesterday, 169 families received the help they need to start getting back on their feet. It was the first delivery of many in the area.

You’re not only helping people survive—you’re helping them rebuild and strengthen their community.

The cleaning supplies you provided will help make it possible for families to return home. A month’s worth of food provides a buffer of survival so families can start putting their lives back together, instead of scrambling to find something to eat every day. The cooking kits you gave will help people move toward self-sufficiency instead of perpetually depending on handouts. And the training materials will increase their chance of survival if—God forbid—there is another chemical attack.

You’re giving people what they need to get back on their feet and move forward. Not just today, but for many, many tomorrows.

Ben Irwin contributed to this story.