Perilous Times

Increasingly Perilous Times to be a Migrant, Refugee, Asylum Seeker, Displaced or Homeless Person with Children. If coronavirus spreads to this population, it could be catastrophic

Luke 21:23 But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people.

Revelation 6:7 And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see.

8 And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.

(‘fourth part’ = 25% = *7.7 billion x .25 = 1.93 billion people) *estimated earth population as of March 2020.

Increasingly Perilous Times to be a Migrant, Refugee, Asylum Seeker, Displaced or Homeless Person with Children. If coronavirus spreads to this population, it could be catastrophic

Opinion by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon Updated 6:38 PM ET, Tue March 24, 2020

(CNN)”I have no idea where my friends are,” the teenage girl told me as we stood under the bright sun of a brisk winter morning. It was last December, and I was visiting Washokani camp, a displaced persons’ camp housing Arab and Kurdish families who lost their homes to the Turkish offensive into northeastern Syria last year.

We spoke in front of the long white and blue tent that she and her sisters shared with their relatives — one family now part of the more than 70 million displaced people worldwide. “I just want to be back in school,” she said.

I think of this girl and so many others like her that I have had the privilege to meet — and I fear what lies ahead for them, as coronavirus infects more and more people across the world. Whether refugees in a foreign land or internally displaced within their own, the millions of people fleeing home — and living in camps like Washokani — face a set of alarming realities: a catastrophe that could spread where access to soap fluctuates, access to water is a luxury and access to health care is limited — at very best — and non-existent at worst.

The world may think it can close borders and tune out the fate of these people, but that is no longer the case. What reaches one displaced person’s camp will likely not remain there — and the consequences for the host countries could be severe.

The international community therefore has a responsibility to put a plan into place. This includes, as advocated by Mona Yacoubian, the former deputy assistant administrator in the Middle East bureau of the US Agency for International Development, “dedicated funding for test kits for these populations accompanied by an action plan for their deployment.”

In short, displaced people need quick, readily available and affordable coronavirus testing and functioning quarantining facilities in places where they now live. Additionally, what is needed is an awareness that women and girls must also be part of the solution to addressing — and stopping — the spread of the coronavirus.

“It really is a tinderbox waiting for the fire to rip through there,” Hardin Lang, a veteran of UN peacekeeping operations, and now vice president for programs and policy at Refugees International, told me. “It is hard to imagine that this isn’t going to be like Italy on steroids in a camp environment.”

Or, as Jan Egeland, Secretary General of the Norwegian Refugee Council, which provides relief to the displaced around the world, puts it: “When the virus hits overcrowded settlements in places like Iran, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Greece, the consequences will be devastating. We must act now.”

These fears are felt with urgency by those on the front line of trying to help the displaced each day.

“There aren’t any quarantine or isolation units in northwestern Syria,” Amany Qaddour, regional director for Syria Relief and Development, an NGO her father and her sister founded in 2011, told me by WhatsApp from her home near the Syrian border. Syria Relief and Development has provided health-related services to several million people displaced in Idlib province in northwestern Syria, which the Syrian regime, backed by Russia, has sought to retake in recent months — leading to one million people being displaced just since early December.

Many people now sleep in bombed-out buildings or in tentsor simply out in the open, exposed to the elements. “We are waiting on kits to diagnose coronavirus and bleach and disinfectants — there isn’t enough bleach to procure in northwest Syria,” says Qaddour.

The NGO is going into camps and facilities and making sure there is messaging around hygiene. But they are up against what nearly every camp setting faces: overcrowding and lousy sanitation — and that’s before there are any officially reported cases of coronavirus. There is also no clear timeline for when the World Health Organization will provide large supplies of disinfectants, such as bleach, though the WHO has assembled a task force to tackle these issues.

Still, according to the WHO, Syria is considered a “very high risk” country due to do the ongoing war, a fragile health care system and large numbers of displaced people. Dr. Nima Saaed Abid, a WHO representative, told CNN on Monday that she expects to see a “significant number of cases.”

But tests aren’t the only issue. Many displaced people don’t have the ability to practice social distancing or shelter-in-place approaches to prevention. “We talk about the ability to stay home and be on lockdown, and we see people rushing to stores right now. That is not something you have in Syria — you are not able to prepare for what appears to be an apocalypse and go get a month’s worth of food,” Qaddour says. “You’re displaced, you are out in the open in a tent that might not even have a door and you cannot protect yourself from these threats… [including] the major threat of infectious disease.”

For women and girls, the threat is even greater. Already Qaddour says of the situation in northwestern Syria — and as I have seen in refugee and internal displaced settings in countries all around the world — women and girls living in camps fear going to get water, going to shower or using the washroom because they risk harassment, or worse. Now they are being told they have to wash their hands throughout the day. This means they will be forced to risk their physical safety — or risk their lives if nothing changes.

“It is almost a luxury to impose these sanitation requirements,” Qaddour tells me, urging the creation of more hand washing stations in camps closer to where women and girls sleep, as well as additional protective measures — such as possibly having security present in washing areas — so that girls and women could safely access these spaces.

To those who say that the displaced don’t matter at a time when borders are closing and coronavirus cases are spreading, medical facts say otherwise. Stopping coronavirus requires including the most vulnerable in the solution, and the most vulnerable includes those who have the least and have lost the most. The world’s 70 million displaced stand first and foremost among them.

And even if the idea of shared humanity doesn’t make you think this is urgent, self-interest must.

“Anywhere we have got large displaced populations, it is going to be impossible to segregate out their health from the health of the communities in which they are living,” Lang says. “It is not only the right thing to do from a moral perspective to include them in the response, but it is also the smart thing to do.”

Mustafa Al-Ali and Kamiron Sadoun assisted in translation for this piece.

Revelation 6:7 And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see.

8 And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.

(‘fourth part’ = 25% = *7.7 billion x .25 = 1.93 billion people) *estimated earth population as of March 2020.

Jesus Christ’s Offer of Salvation:

The ABCs of Salvation through Jesus Christ (the Lamb)

A. Admit/Acknowledge/Accept that you are sinner. Ask God’s forgiveness and repent of your sins.

. . . “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23).

. . . “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one.” (Romans 3:10).

. . . “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” (1 John 1:8).

B. Believe Jesus is Lord. Believe that Jesus Christ is who He claimed to be; that He was both fully God and fully man and that we are saved through His death, burial, and resurrection. Put your trust in Him as your only hope of salvation. Become a son or daughter of God by receiving Christ.

. . . “That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. (John 3:15-17). For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:13).

C. Call upon His name, Confess with your heart and with your lips that Jesus is your Lord and Savior.

. . . “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” (Romans 10:9-10).

. . . “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” (John 1:8-10).

. . . “And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. (John 2:2).

. . . “In this was manifested the love of god toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world. Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.” (1 John 4:9, 14-15).

. . . “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.” (Romans 5:8-10).

. . . “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23).

. . . “Jesus saith unto them, I am the way, the truth, and the life, no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6).

. . . “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth.” (Romans 1:16).

. . . “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts: 4:12).

. . . “Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth for there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” (1 Timothy 2:4-6).

. . . “For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thessalonians 5:9).

. . . “But as many as received him, to them gave the power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” (John 1:12).

True Church / Bride of Christ Spared from God’s Wrath:

 Romans 5:8-10. “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.”

Romans 12:19Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.

1 Thessalonians 1:10. And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.

1 Thessalonians 5:9. For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,

Romans 8:35. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

Jeremiah 30:7. Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble, but he shall be saved out of it.

Revelation 3:10 Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.

Categories: Perilous Times

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