The Human Cost: ‘We don’t treat humanitarian crises the same way’: Donating to Syria earthquake victims is challenging, despite easing of U.S. sanctions

by | Mar 6, 2023 | Stock Market

The moment Alexis Cheung saw the news in early February about the horrific earthquake in Turkey and Syria, she wanted to do something to help. The 30-year-old nonfiction writer, who lives in Honolulu, Hawaii, started searching for ways to give money directly to people impacted on the ground. Through a friend’s Instagram story, Cheung learned about a person from Aleppo who would soon be traveling to the Syrian city, bringing money to help people with supplies and other expenses in one of the worst-hit areas of the country. Cheung asked for the person’s Venmo information in order to use the payment app to make a $25 donation. 

When Cheung sent her donation, she typed “Aleppo” with a heart emoji in the Venmo app. Immediately, she received an alert from Venmo that the transaction would be held for review. Venmo then emailed Cheung requesting an explanation for the reference to “Aleppo” and the purpose of her payment.  “I just got really mad because it’s such an insane thing. It wasn’t a hundred or thousands of dollars that might seem like, ‘hey, where’s this money going?’ It was flagged because of the word ‘Aleppo,’” said Cheung. “We don’t treat humanitarian cri …

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