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The humanitarian crisis in and around Syria, as powerfully described in Erika Solomon’s report, has become a catastrophe of unprecedented proportions. About half of Syria’s pre-conflict population of 22m people have fled their homes to escape the violence, many of them pouring into neighbouring Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey, which are struggling to cope with the inflows.

This year the staff of the Financial Times have voted to support the International Rescue Committee, one of the most active non-governmental organisations trying to alleviate the humanitarian crisis in Syria. The IRC also works on the frontline in many other countries, giving people the technical support and financial means to help rebuild their lives, and is also playing a vital role in west Africa in combating the spread of Ebola.

At a time when hostility towards refugees and migrants is rising in many parts of the world, the FT is proud to support the IRC’s work, which is still guided by the humanitarian spirit of its founder Albert Einstein and its mission to “assist victims of civil oppression in many lands without reference to religious or political faith”.

Over the next few weeks FT correspondents will report on the range of the IRC’s activities across the Middle East, southeast Asia, Africa and the US. You can follow all these reports at www.ft.com/seasonal-appeal.

We hope that you will give generously to this year’s appeal, as you have done every year since 2006. In total we have helped to raise more than £14m with our charity partners over that time.

This year the British government is providing matched funding for the appeal. Justine Greening, the UK international development secretary, says: “Many Syrian children have known nothing but conflict their whole lives and now face a fourth harsh winter away from home.

“By matching pound for pound all public donations to the FT Seasonal Appeal, we will double the difference IRC can make. That means more medicine, clean water and access to education and a clear message to Syrian children that the world has not forgotten them.”

The IRC has also received generous donations from American Express, Novartis, the Asfari Foundation and the Lundin Foundation.

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