Desperate residents in Aleppo are calling for help from the international community as airstrikes resumed over the besieged Syrian city on Wednesday in a mounting crisis that’s been described by the United Nations as “a complete meltdown of humanity.”
The shelling and airstrikes resumed less than 24 hours after a ceasefire between rebels and the Syrian government collapsed threatening an evacuation plan to get thousands of civilians out of the rebel held eastern part of Aleppo.
WATCH: Aleppo residents share horrifying messages as reports of executions emerge
The airstrikes followed reports from the United Nations Tuesday that pro-government forces had killed at least 82 civilians, entering homes and killing people “on the spot” as they looked to take full control of the city.
“The crushing of Aleppo, the immeasurably terrifying toll on its people, the bloodshed, the wanton slaughter of men, women and children, the destruction – and we are nowhere near the end of this cruel conflict,” U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein said in a statement.
Here are several things ordinary Canadians can do to help:
Privately sponsor a refugee
WATCH ABOVE: Syrian refugees still looking for work in Canada
Canadians can sponsor an individual or family. A group of five or more Canadian citizens or permanent residents over the age of 18 can sponsor one or more refugees to come to Canada and settle in their area.
Seher Shafiq, manager of community engagement at Lifelife Syria, said there are two ways to sponsor refugees; create your own sponsorship group of five people or Lifeline will help connect you with other people to form a full group.
“We really are relying on Canadians from all walks of life to step up and join sponsor groups,” Shafiq told Global News. “Whatever contribution they can make will be very valuable.”
The cost of settling an individual refugee is roughly $12,600 according to Lifeline, while a family of four costs about $27,000.
Shafiq said while it’s a big commitment to sponsor a refugee, the process has been bringing communities together.
“It’s a very, very fulfilling commitment,” she said. “When you are bringing together a group of five people in your neighbourhood, school or workplace, it’s something that brings Canadians together and that has value in and of itself.”
Since November 2015, more than 36,000 Syrian refugees have arrived in Canada. Ottawa announced in October it plans to accept 40,000 refugees and protected persons in 2017, down from 55,800 this year and another 3,500 people on humanitarian or compassionate grounds.
Donate to groups that helps resettle refugees
WATCH ABOVE: What can Canadians do to help Syrian refugees?
Lifeline Syria and groups like Canadian Council of Refugee need your help financial support to continue their work bringing refugees to Canada. You can also donate to local organizations across that country – a list is located here.
Organizations like Refugee613 based in Ottawa are also accepting clothing, furniture and housing for refugee.
If you don’t have cash to donate, you can volunteer your time by contacting the organization directly.
Donate to The White Helmets
WATCH ABOVE: Syrian ‘White Helmet’ cries after rescuing baby from rubble
The Syria Civil Defence – popularly known as the White Helmets for their distinctive white hard hats – is a volunteer organization that has been working tirelessly to rescue people from the rubble of buildings destroyed by bombings and airstrikes.
Raed Al-Saleh, the head of the organization, spoke exclusively to Global News on Tuesday about the humanitarian crisis.
“The situation with Aleppo is now terrible,” Saleh said through an interpreter. “The civilians over the past period of the escalation and the siege of Aleppo, they suffered a lot and especially after the bombing of the hospitals in the eastern part of Aleppo.”
You can make donations to their “hero fund” which helps pay for medical care for injured rescuers and helps support families of volunteers killed in action
Donate aid organizations working on the ground
WATCH ABOVE: The U.N. estimates about seven million Syrians have lost their homes or been forced to flee because of the ongoing civil war
There are also several non-governmental organizations working on the frontlines of the Syria crisis that are in desperate need of help.
Other international include:
- United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR)
- Preemptive Love Coalition
- The Syrian American Medical Society
- Helping Hand for Relief and Development
- Mercy Corps
- Migrant Offshore Aid Station
– With files from Adam Frisk and Farah Nasser