Saturday, May 07, 2016

Wildfire: Syrian Refugees in Canada Donating to help climate Refugees

By Juan Cole | May. 6, 2016

Syrian refugees in Canada are using Facebook and web sites to raise donations for climate refugees from the massive tar sands fire that has destroyed much of Fort McMurray in Alberta, Canada and forced the evacuation of 80,000 people living in the city and its surroundings.


Annalise Klingbeil of the Calgary Herald wrote that the drive was begun with an Arabic posting on a private Facebook group for Syrian refugees in Alberta province by recent arrival Rita Khanchet:

“It’s not easy to lose everything. We can understand them more than anyone in Canada. We were in the same situation . . . Me and my family wanted to do something for these people. Canadian society helped us when we came to Canada . . . (Canadians) gave us everything. And now it’s time to return the favour . . .”


Ironically, some of the turmoil in Syria derives from climate change, which exacerbated the country’s prolonged drought and drove rural farmers off their land to festering slums like East Aleppo and the bidonvilles around cities like Hama and Homs. These suffering populations in turn joined demonstrations against the regime, and when they were met with brute force, turned to Muslim fundamentalist militias, throwing the country into civil war. The war is complex and has many roots, but my guess is that 20% of the drought is climate change-related (the latter process causes droughts in the Middle East to be more frequent, last longer, and be hotter).


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