If Your Own Country Experienced The Same Disaster As Syria, This Is What It Would Look Like

If the UK were Syria, everyone in Reading would be dead.

1. A new website, If We Were Syrian, has launched to show the impact of violence in Syria by comparing deaths in the country with cities around the world. The website shows stark figures of the reality of the conflict in the Middle East.

If We Were Syrian / Via ifweweresyrian.org
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2. London would be practically deserted to reflect the 8.3 million in Syria in need of aid. Meanwhile everyone in Reading would be dead.

If We Were Syrian / Via ifweweresyrian.org
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3. The founders of the website, two journalists, created the website so people could “imagine the crisis in our own country.” Users can make country comparisons with countries in the G7 but they hope to expand that soon.

If We Were Syrian / Via ifweweresyrian.org
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4. Shannon Gormley, one of the founders, told BuzzFeed she launched the project with her partner, Drew Gough, as the pair wanted to draw attention to the region.

If We Were Syrian / Via ifweweresyrian.org

“The needs are astounding,” she said. “Not just for the refugees but also the host countries. And the international community is not providing enough support. The UN has said there are going to be dire consequences if more aid isn’t given.”

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5. The two journalists also wanted to help “explain the scale of a crisis” in a way that felt more natural to local audiences.

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She said: “How do you picture nine million people? So after reporting on the crisis again, I wanted to think of a creative way to get this across and in a column for a Canadian paper, I wrote a comparison with Canada and it provoked a reaction was genuinely shocking.”

“It made it very clear for us that if people are given a way to emphathise in a way they understand, they’ll really jump at that. It’s really not easy to picture these numbers if they’re taking place in a region that you’ve never visit yourself.”

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7. But she added that the pair didn’t just want people to promote so-called internet activism but rather wanted users to act by writing to their leaders.

If We Were Syrian / Via ifweweresyrian.org

The pair want to promote action on the part of readers. “That’s why we’ve composed letters to leaders,” she said. “We have a link where people can donate.

“But it’s really important that the international community rise to the occasion.”

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8. Gormley said they have two main aims. She said: “The international community really needs to provide international aid and open its borders.”

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9. But the pair are hopeful, adding that despite the website only being a month old, they have already received a number of emails with readers saying that they’re emailed their representatives.

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Siraj Datoo is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.
Contact Siraj Datoo at siraj.datoo@buzzfeed.com.

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