I am one of an estimated 15,000 Syrians trying to survive the conflict in Yemen. Only three thousand are registered as refugees with UNHCR. They do not live in camps, but rather are scattered in different cities, hidden among the poor and vulnerable in urban centers across Yemen.
A sea of fear divides Europeans from migrants. Migrants fear death on the sea. For Europeans, there was, and still is, the fear of accommodating, of sharing. There's a lack of courage in not putting these people -- who have risked their lives -- first.
In recent months, it has been tougher than normal. Refugees used to receive nine dry food items from the World Food program and the Sahrawi Red Crescent. But since the beginning of the year, due to funding constraints, they only receive seven.
Some 12.2 million people, more than half of the population, are estimated to need humanitarian assistance. A similar number have been displaced -- between 6.5 million and 7.8 million -- within Syria, and three to four million have been displaced on to neighboring states.
When I woke on April 25 to reports of a 7.8 magnitude earthquake in Nepal, my first thoughts turned to the safety of my Nepali-American son's uncles, aunts, cousins, nieces and nephews. All fine, I soon learned.
What is needed is a global master plan for dealing with emergencies created by natural disasters, because they happen often and all over the globe. Independent organizations and governments should all have to organize and stage their efforts through one agency.
We, in Nepal today, are injured people. We have lost much. But not all. And to heal, we must get in touch with that portion of our lives that is not yet broken. In this, we have much to learn from the Haiti earthquake, where the largest aftershock came eight days after the main earthquake.
Among other research and policy initiatives aimed reducing the maximum volume of suffering for the minimum philanthropic investment, GiveWell is sending mosquito nets to Africa, hoping to save children from malaria.
Even though there are no hard hats or military gear, the atmosphere at the headquarters at Direct Relief is a serious, focused, active, caring, and compassionate place, as I sit with several personnel at their headquarters today in Goleta, CA.