The world held its breath as a ceasefire to evacuate rebel fighters and civilians from war-torn Aleppo briefly raised hopes for an end to the bloody conflict in Syria’s largest city.
Those hopes were dashed within hours as shelling and bombing resumed on Wednesday -- a fitting reminder of the ongoing need for Canadians to do what they can to help those caught in the crossfire of global conflicts.
Samantha Nutt of War Child Canada has visited some of the world’s most brutal war zones. She says many of the 22 active conflicts around the world will become more deadly in 2017.
“I think you are going to see an ongoing displacement of civilians, human rights abuses, atrocities, and a population that is extremely traumatized in a region that is heavily, heavily divided,” she told CTV’s Power Play of the situation playing out in Syria. “That violence is unfortunately going to continue for quite some time."
How you can help: Charities offering humanitarian aid to Syrians
While chilling accounts from within Syria has prompted an outpouring of generosity from Canadians, Nutt reminds donors to consider lesser known conflicts in places like South Sudan, Yemen, and Libya.
“South Sudan has witnessed a tremendous increase in violence in recent months, (and) over the past couple of years,” said Nutt.
A team of United Nations investigators said South Sudan was “on the brink of an all-out ethnic civil war which could destabilize the entire region” in a report to the UN Human Rights Council on Wednesday. Tens of thousands have been killed in the fighting. More than a million are believed to have fled the newly-minted East African nation.
“Yemen is also an ongoing concern. Libya is really quite an unstable place, which is a conflict that threatens to spill over into neighbouring countries, which would have a significant impact on parts of Africa,” said Nutt.
Saturday marked the one-year anniversary of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Immigration Minister John McCallum greeting the first plane load of Syrian refugees arriving at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport. Nutt applauds the Ottawa’s focus on resettlement while many first-world countries tightened their boarders and expressed apprehension over the security risks posed by migrants.
“Canada has shown that that is not the case. They we can welcome refugees. That we can help to integrate them, and that we can respond positively and generously,” she said. “There will be tremendous needs that those refugees will have moving forwards.”
While Canada grapples with the challenges associated with accommodating more than 36,000 refugees since Nov. 2015, Nutt hopes that the millions still living in deadly warzones are not forgotten as Canadians make charitable donations this holiday season.
“We have been very generous in receiving many of those war affected refugees here, but there are many millions more in corners of the world that still need ongoing support,” she said. “It’s a lot more complicated than giving a goat or chicken. It’s really about making long term investments in insuring people are well supported.”
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