Friday, February 20, 2015

Stayin' alive in Lebanon's snowfall

We've had unseasonably warm weather here in the Northwest this winter. As a result, the snowpack is high. Skiers complain about lost opportunity. Others worry about whether there will be drought next summer. The bright side, for me, is some very nice bike rides I've been able to take, including a long weekend jaunt up the slopes of Mt. Rainier ... in biking shorts and shirtsleeves, in the middle of January! (Nearly unheard-of.)

Watch this slideshow of children
struggling to survive in Lebanon's
brutal winter. Photo by Ralph Baydoun,
courtesy of World Vision.
Elsewhere in the country, folks are getting pounded with snow and cold. Record snowfall in places like Boston and Buffalo has made for a difficult winter for many who have been literally confined to their homes.

But, compared to the plight of others, they should probably be grateful for the homes they are confined to. My World Vision colleague, Lindsey Minerva, put together this video after receiving footage from refugee camps in Lebanon, where people displaced by the violence and fighting in Syria have fled by the millions ...

And I just read another news report yesterday that yet another snowstorm is pounding Lebanon.

World Vision is working hard to provide a safe and warm place for children who have fled the violence and literally own nothing but the shirts on their backs. In northern Iraq, in Lebanon, and in Jordan, many refugees and internally displaced are trying to survive freezing temperatures holed up in makeshift refugee camps, or in bare cement half-finished factories they are squatting in, or even in cardboard boxes and tarp-tents (like the one shown collapsed, in the video), out in open fields.

World Vision is distributing coats
and other badly needed clothing.
Photo by Ralph Baydoun, courtesy
of World Vision.
Even worse, these refugees have been traumatized by constant fear of attack, and by the loss of friends and loved ones in the fighting. Both physical and mental health is threatened. Desperately-needed education has been completely interrupted for many children.

Now is the time for us to come together, to be the hands and feet of Jesus to the least of these! Please share this with your friends and fellow churchgoers, and help World Vision provide the emergency aid that these Syrian and Iraqi refugees and displaced persons need to survive. Thank you!

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