National Magazine of the Lutheran Church of Australia

Jordanians open their homes to strangers from Syria

October 2013

by Rosie Schefe

As autumn gives way to winter on the plains surrounding the Za’atri refugee camp in Jordan, living conditions are worsening for almost 140,000 refugees from the conflict in Syria.

‘This is now the second-largest refugee camp in the world; it overwhelms the town of Za’atri itself’, Australian aid-worker Stephen McDonald told ABC reporter James Bennett on 20 October.

The United Nations estimates that more than 480,000 Syrian refugees are now in Jordan, from a total of two million Syrians fleeing the fighting. One million refugees are children.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Jordan and the Holy Land (ELCJHL) has appealed to the Lutheran Church of Australia and New Zealand to support efforts towards peace in the region. Practical help is also urgently needed to assist the many Syrians living in refugee camps and in Jordanian homes.

Australian Lutheran World Service (ALWS) launched an appeal in September to raise an initial $50,000 to begin assisting Syrian refugees in Jordan who are living in the Za’atri camp or with Jordanian families. By 20 October a total of $204,937.66 had been raised.

The money will be used to provide thermal underwear and winter clothing (particularly for children) and gas heaters for families living in tents or tarpaulin shelters and to help repair Jordanian homes where Syrian refugees are being hosted …