MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) - Millions of Syrians are being driven out of their homes by civil war, flooding neighboring nations and now inundating Europe. Now, a Minnesota group is trying to help the millions displaced by this war but who remain inside Syria.
Some are calling it the largest refugee crisis since WWII, the images are as heartbreaking as the numbers are staggering. Millions of Syrians bringing everyone they love and carrying everything they own to flee a country torn apart by civil war.
But it wasn't until pictures of a 2-year-old boy whose body washed ashore after a failed boat trip from turkey to Greece sparked outrage on social media around the world -- that the Syrian refugee crisis came into focus for many Americans.
"What we are seeing inside Syria is the worst humanitarian crisis of our time,” Michael Wordsworth, CEO of the American Refugee Committee (ARC) in Minnesota, said.
The committee says of Syria’s 26 million citizens, 4 million have fled the country while 7 million others have lost their homes in fighting between the government and rebel and ethnic groups including ISIS.
At first, the refugees were absorbed by surrounding countries like Lebanon and turkey, but now they're overwhelmed, sending the latest wave of migrants to Europe in search of a better life.
"I think what's happened in the last week or so is we're beginning to see the human face of it,” Wordsworth said. “Up until now there's been so much noise out of that region. People have found it hard to connect."
ARC is trying to raise a million dollars to get humanitarian aid like food, shelter, and clean water to the scores of displaced Syrians who haven't left the country, as well as the thousands in the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan.
And while the scale of the crisis seems overwhelming, ARC says every donation can make a difference.
"This is a deep shaking earthquake that is changing our country and we have to get in there and do something now or these reverberations will continue touching more and more countries.”
To donate, visit www.ARCrelief.org