Blog Posts by Daryl Grisgraber

July 09, 2015 Daryl Grisgraber

The conflict that began in Syria in March 2011 has now endured through four winters, with a fifth one on the way. If it seems too early to be thinking about preparing the displaced for winter, consider that each of the past four winters in the region has been greeted with insufficient planning, funding shortfalls, and program cuts. It shouldn’t be possible that winter takes us by surprise— winter arrives whether there’s a displacement crisis or not. But for the past four years, humanitarians have struggled to meet the needs of displaced Syrians as the weather gets colder.

June 19, 2015 Daryl Grisgraber

World Refugee Day: a day to “recognize the lives of refugees and those who are dedicated to helping them.” So many of the people dedicated to helping refugees (and IDPs, asylum-seekers, and the stateless, all of whom are included in the purview of World Refugee Day) are refugees themselves. We normally think of international aid workers as the ones helping the displaced, but in places where access is difficult or dangerous, it’s often a case of refugees helping their own communities.  

April 22, 2015 Daryl Grisgraber Congress, Syria, U.S. Administration, United Nations, Humanitarian Response

It’s one of those things you don’t think about until someone specifically brings it up. You don’t think about it partly because it doesn’t seem to be the most urgent need, and partly because you just don’t want to have such an image in your head. It’s a mental picture that’s not easy to get rid of.

“There is nowhere to bury people in Aleppo anymore. The public gardens are all full of bodies.”

March 10, 2015 Daryl Grisgraber Middle East, Syria, Turkey, Women & Children, Statelessness

Imagine that your own birth was never officially recorded. Your family members and friends would know you, and know that you exist.  You might receive services from local organizations, like the church or the fire department. But what would happen when it’s time to enroll in school, get a job, or apply for a driver’s license? Now imagine all of this is happening to you in a foreign country. You fled your home because of war. But when it’s time to return home with the rest of your family, how could you prove that you belong there?

October 20, 2014 Daryl Grisgraber Congress, Iraq, Syria, U.S. Administration, United Nations, Humanitarian Response, Middle East, Protection & Security

In the center of Erbil, northern Iraq, just next to a highway overpass, we met Yezin and his family – refugees from the fighting in neighboring Syria. Nasser himself didn’t get up to greet us. He had been wounded in a mortar attack on his Syrian hometown of Aleppo. The field surgery he had received left a metal plate in his leg that doesn’t allow him to stand or walk on his own any longer. He and his family of seventeen are now living in an abandoned construction lot in Erbil, where it has been hard for humanitarian agencies to find and help them.