Frozen Middle East needs some “global warming”

 snowman in jerusalem 2015 winter stormA winter storm is banging around much of the Middle East.  Precip’s teamed up with gale force winds, causing first-world headaches like clogged transport, school closures, power outages and the promise of steep heating bills. But mostly people are rocking a few days respite from the usual grind, and – judging from the flood of snowy selfies on social media – having fun. But society is bifurcated; it’s no winter wonderland if you’re poor or displaced.  Check out these ways to help others survive the cold snap. By no means exhaustive, but maybe enough info to get you in a giving mood.  It’s so cool to help someone get warm.

  • Collateral Repair Project (Jordan) brings critical help to refugees, urban poor, and victims of conflict – people commonly referred to as “collateral damage”. Jordan is now home to hundreds of thousands of Iraqi and Syrian refugees. This Amman-based NGO coverts your cash and donated goods into food, clothing, and medical and financial aid directly to those in need. Consider enrolling for a monthly donation – could cost less than a round of Peppermint White Chocolate lattes! (link here)
  • Caritas (Lebanon) has providing Syrian refugees living in Lebanon with stoves, fuel allowances, warm clothing and blankets to better withstand harsh winter weather.  Over a century old, this Catholic relief organization provides winter heating fuel to particularly vulnerable schools as part of its education program to get Syrian children into Lebanese schools. Caritas winter programs also aid Syrians and Iraqis in Jordan and Turkey. (link here)
  • Yad Sarah (Israel) is a community of 6,000 volunteers, men and women of all ages, in every corner of Israel, who give time and talent to make Yad Sarah work. The Jerusalem-based group provides a vast array of services including home visits and home repairs – essential support for the elderly or disabled in severe weather. Interested in helping? (link here)
  • Helping Hand for Relief & Development (HHRD) provides an immediate response in disasters and places of suffering.  Founded in 2005, the Michigan-based Muslim organization now works in 18 countries, working with vetted NGO partners to distribute winter provisions like blankets, sweaters, jackets, and thermal socks. Your donation will save lives. (link here)
  • DAY – Dar al Yasmin (Jordan) formed in 2013 in response to the dire needs of Syrian refugees living in Zaatari village (near Zaatari refugee camp). Now expanded, this French NGO provides educational programs, extracurricular activities for kids, and now – clothes, blankets and other winter essentials to hundreds of families, all refugees or poor Jordanians. Your contributions of cash, goods, or services will help sustain their mission. (link here)

This week’s powerful storm snarled traffic across the region and delayed flights.  High seas and fierce wind caused closures at five seaports in Alexandria, Egypt.  Even relatively balmy Gulf states were crippled by heavy fog.

On the upside, snow brought a temporary pause in the fighting in Syria, where the conflict has now entered its fourth year.  Last Wednesday was the first day in three years that no war casualties occurred. (For context, consider that an average of 150 people died each day in December violence). But freezing weather brings more suffering.

So let’s press “pause” on silly selfies; press “send” on these donation tabs to help warm others.  And do let us know of other aid groups – will happily update this list.

Image of Jerusalem snowman from Shutterstock 


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