“We invited all of our friends to come to our office, and we spent a lot of time together putting hygiene and food kits together,” Eubank said.
In August the government started setting up larger, more permanent camps, with tents, sanitation equipment and running water.
“The government is responding to the long-term concerns,” Eubank said. “We were just there to respond to the crisis. Our role is to fill in the gaps, and we were able to do that.”
For example, at one point during the summer the desert location of the Zaatari refugee camp was becoming a dust bowl. LDS Charities arranged for base course to be placed in the area to reduce the dust. Additional base course is being placed in anticipation of the wet, muddy winter months to come.
The government is partnering with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees in responding to the current refugee crisis, but Eubank noted that “their resources right now are incredibly stretched with five different crises around the world that they are managing.” So LDS Charities is shifting its focus to preparing for the harsh realities of the Jordanian winter.
“Many of these people cross the border with just what they are wearing,” Eubank said. “We’ve sent boots, blankets and coats for those who are in need of winter clothing. We’re still coordinating with the government, trying to anticipate future needs.”
LDS Charities will also be coordinating with Islamic Relief to contribute a portion of the relief items to needy Jordanian families, particularly those regions that have accommodated a high Syrian influx.
For LDS Charities, Eubank said, “there is no expectation or even hope that there will be some reciprocal benefit for the church” from the humanitarian efforts.
“We don’t care about your religion or your ethnicity or anything else,” she said. “If you need help, we are trying to respond.”
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