Letchworth aid worker to fly to Jordan today

Barrie Sampson surveying a shelter site in Decouze, Haiti, in 2010

Barrie Sampson surveying a shelter site in Decouze, Haiti, in 2010 - Credit: Archant

A Salvation Army officer will fly to Jordan to help refugees from war-torn Syria.

Barrie Sampson, who leads The Salvation Army Letchworth Corps along with his wife Maria, will spend five weeks in Jordan in an effort to help refugees displaced in the region.

“We have absolutely no knowledge of what we’re going to find,” he said. “The main refugee camp in Jordan is currently home to close on 130,000 refugees. Over 70% of the refugees have bypassed the camps and made their way into the main cities of Al Mafraq and Irbid, and it is to these cities The Salvation Army will be making its responses.

“Inititally there are only two of us going out. We believe there are 200 families already identified for us to help.”

The Salvation Army has formed a partnership with global church group The Lutheran World Federation for this endeavour.

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“Many families are now hosting Syrian refugees and are finding it difficult to maintain normal living, so the partnership will seek to provide extended cooking facilities, together with supplies of gas, blankets, sleeping bags etcetera,” said Major Sampson, who lives in Letchworth GC.

“The biggest problem is that their homes are largely overcrowded now,” said Major Sampson. “There are three, four or five families under one roof.”

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He added that the situation is “going to have a huge drain on the country’s economy”.

Major Sampson has been involved in emergency relief work since 2003, when he went to war-torn Iraq. He has since been an aid worker in Sri Lanka in the aftermath of the Tsunami in 2005 and in Haiti after the earthquake in 2010.

“I just want to be able to make a difference,” he said. “It’s an opportunity to use some of the skills I had as a national transport manager, prior to becoming a full-time church minister.”

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