Despite global concerns over the refugee crisis, a Red Cross spokesperson said that Hong Kong has only raised HK$10,000 for refugees after the charity made an emergency call for help on Monday.

syrian refugee camp
Syrian refugee camp. Photo: Mustafa Khayat via Flickr.

Red Cross said that there are around 12 million Syrian refugees in need of humanitarian assistance and the aid agency hopes to raise HK$4.58 billion internationally to provide the refugees with food, drinking water and basic medical care. Currently, it has only reached 60 percent of its target, Ming Pao reported.

The HK$10,000 raised in Hong Kong was far from satisfactory, said Betty Lau, Head of International Relief and Service at Hong Kong Red Cross.

Lau said that Hong Kong citizens may have been distracted by other issues and are unaware that Syrian refugees need their assistance. She also said that the Hong Kong branch of the non-profit organisation made a call for help in early 2013 and early 2015, but only raised HK$1 million over the last two years.

Red Cross Hong kong homepage
Hong Kong Red Cross Home Page. Photo:

Volunteer doctor Dr. Yeung Man-chow, who was providing medical assistance at a Syrian refugee camp in Jordan last year, drew attention to the due to a lack of resources and staff in refugee camps, saying that no dental services were available and that medical staff could only prescribe painkillers to refugees with toothaches.

The Hong Kong Red Cross has donated HK$2 million to over 1,000 affected families still living within Syrian borders and provided them with food, water, blankets, household goods. It has also provided medical assistance to Syrian refugees in Lebanon.

david cameron
UK Prime Minister David Cameron. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

The Syrian refugee crisis began in 2011 with the Syrian Civil War, which was triggered by protests against President Bashar al-Assad’s government. According to the UNHCR, more than 4 million Syrians have been registered as refugees. Last week, a picture of a dead Syrian toddler washed up on a beach in Turkey drew international attention to the refugee crisis, prompting world leaders to respond.

UK Prime Minister David Cameron announced that the UK will take 20,000 Syrian refugees over the next five years, while the EU has proposed for 120,000 additional asylum seekers to be distributed among EU nations with binding quotas.

Donate to the Red Cross to help Syrian refugees now.

Karen is a journalist and writer covering politics and legal affairs in Hong Kong for HKFP. She has also written features on human rights, public space, regional legal developments, social and grassroots activism, and arts & culture. She is a BA and LLB graduate from the University of Hong Kong.