Annual report 2019-20Read now
By Noelle Fitzpatrick, Trócaire’s Syria Humanitarian Officer
Fadi is a Syrian refugee living in Lebanon, before the war he had a good life in Syria – he was an engineer and enjoyed living with his family and close to his friends.
He never wanted to leave home but as he watched his country implode around him and the death toll rise from thousands to hundreds of thousands he had no option but to make the tragic decision to leave his country, a decision so familiar to so many Syrian people.
My name is Noelle Fitzpatrick, I am Trócaire’s Humanitarian Officer and I have met Fadi, and many others who are living in refugee camps in Lebanon and Jordan. Many of them have nothing but the clothes on their backs.
Today, Fadi lives in Lebanon. His home is only a two hour journey away and although he longs to travel back to his country, he knows it is a journey that he cannot make.
Although highly qualified and experienced, Fadi can only find casual labour and struggles to earn enough money to survive. He desperately wants to go home to restart the life he left behind. But as long as the war rages on, that is not possible.
Like many others, he is now so desperate that he is considering risking his life to get to Europe.
“I die a little bit every day here,” he told me. “If there is even a 50% chance of making it alive to Europe, it is a risk worth taking.”
For Fadi and the 1.1 million Syrians now living in Lebanon, the prospect of returning home has now become little more than a distant dream.
When I meet Syrian refugees living in Lebanon and Jordan, I am often struck by the similarities in their stories: the good jobs left behind, the homes abandoned, the family members missing or dead, the struggle to survive.
What strikes me most, however, is that their dignity has been undermined. These people are used to working hard and providing for their families but are now compelled to accept hand-outs or search for casual labour to earn whatever money they can.
For almost five years Syrians have taken shelter in Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan but as the war rolls on, the number of people fleeing continue to rise.
There are 1.1 million Syrians in Lebanon, 1.9 million in Turkey, 630,000 in Jordan and 250,000 in Iraq. Many are leaving with nothing but hope of finding safety for their families.
Thanks to the tremendous support of people throughout Ireland, Trócaire has been providing food and shelter to Syrian refugees, as well as people who have remained in Syria since 2013. We are also providing trauma support to those affected by the conflict.
This support is a vital lifeline to Syrians and other refugees in the Middle East who are struggling to cope with the impacts of displacement and war.