Countries Reaching Critical Mass on Syrian Refugees

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ZAHLE, Lebanon -- Last year when thousands of Syrian refugees started pouring over borders into neighboring countries, humanitarian aid workers moved into action.

On Thursday the United Nations said Syrian refugee numbers have grown to an alarming 2 million and efforts to help them are approaching a breaking point.

Many of the refugees are Christians who are now struggling to survive in neighboring countries.

Their numbers are almost unfathomable, growing from a quarter million a year ago to more than 2 million -- 5,000 people flee every day.

That's about the same as the entire population of Washington D.C., Nashville, Denver, and Birmingham, Ala. combined.

Now imagine moving many of them into the American states of Missouri and Oklahoma. Missouri is about the same size as Syrian neighbor, Jordan. The population of Oklahoma is about the same as Lebanon. They are stressed to the max.

"Imagine also what this sudden movement of a city-size population means in terms of the increased pressure on resources such as education, health, security for the countries hosting the refugees," Kristalina Georgieva, the European Union Commissioner for International Cooperation, said.

Experts warn that Syrian refugee numbers would likely grow in the event of possible American missile strikes against the Assad regime.

Meanwhile, many Syrian ChrIstians are finding help and refuge in Lebanon's Bekka Valley and are getting a lot of international attention because of the war crisis.

But their churches, homes, and livelihood have been destroyed, and some Christians like Nicholas George have lost family members.

George owned a small grocery store in Syria but fled to Lebanon because the war caused his business to fail.

"Because of the fighting, everyone in my area was stuck inside their house, they could not buy anything. It was very dangerous for me even to try to open my shop," he said.

George and his family now live in a small, two-room apartment in the Bekka Valley. He's found some part-time work making cinder blocks at a brick factory.

Yet his salary only gives him money to pay the rent and buy a small amount of food, leaving him oftentimes to choose between buying food or medicine for his diabetes.

"I'm always worried about my medIcine...I feel weak and dizzy when I am without it," George said.

Some American Christians gave George enough money to purchase a three-month supply of medicine.

He said when it runs out he'll need to rely on the generosity of suffering family members still residing in Syria to send help.

CBN partner Heart for Lebanon (LINK) learned about George's struggles and arranged for him to be one of a few Syrian refugees to receive monthly food supplies.

CBN News spoke with Heart for Lebanon workers as they distributed food to Syrian Christians refugees in Zhale and accompanied them as they visited a number of refugee homes.

So, as an escalating crisis is expected to cause more Syrians to flee their country, and as host countries struggle to assist them -- CBN and partner Heart for Lebanon are working together to alleviate some of the suffering.

"Their help is making life easier for us...and I'm now reading the Bible more and attending church regularly here. My faith in Jesus is stronger," George said.

CBN partners are sharing the love of Christ with those who don't know him and bringing help and encouragement to strengthen the faith of those who do.


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Gary Lane

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