International Rescue Committee (IRC)

Sarah Wayne Callies in Domiz refugee camp, part 1

Two years after the start of what has become a full-fledged civil war, the crisis in Syria threatens the entire Middle East with a humanitarian disaster. More than 1 million Syrians have fled to neighboring countries, and thousands more are crossing borders every day.

In the first of two videos (view part 2 here), actress and IRC Voice Sarah Wayne Callies takes us inside Domiz camp in Iraq, where hundreds of Syrian refugees are arriving daily. 

Many thanks to Crawford Media Services for their production assistance

Video Transcription

Sarah Wayne Callies:

So last year I was in Ban Mai Nai Soi on the Thai-Myanmar border and I was checking out IRC operations there at one of the world’s oldest refugee camps. And they’ve got it down to something that seems like a science. There's some incredible services, health services and psycho-social services, and there’s very little disease. And they’re growing a lot of food and the dwellings are for the most part safe and clean.

This is Domiz and it’s different: We have as many people working just as hard to create the most humane and dignified living circumstances that can be created, but things are dire. We’ve got hundreds of people showing up every day needing a place to stay.

We were bogged down in mud — we almost couldn’t get in here today because there is something very close to flooding going on — and we've got a lot of people who are already here who don’t have a place to live. I spoke with someone today who said there were 16 members of her family living in a two-bedroom tent, and they had two mattresses.

This is the kind of thing that you don’t ever want to see and it’s the kind of thing that I think is easy to look away from — but they need our help. What I saw in Thailand last year is that a very dignified standard of living is achievable for refugee populations and we have a lot of work to do to get there. We need help. We need a lot of help.

Thanks to volunteer Teddy C. for transcribing this video.