Filipino citizens before leaving the Beirut airport Credits: Caritas Lebanon

Filipino citizens before leaving the Beirut airport
Credits: Caritas Lebanon

Caritas Lebanon will assist in the evacuation of another group of Filipino refugees who are fleeing the war in Syria in a bid to return home.

Caritas Lebanon Migrants Centre social workers will await the group of 40 migrants on the Lebanon-Syria border on Sunday to help facilitate their repatriation before taking them to the airport. They have helped over 300 Filipino nationals plus some Sri Lankans leave Syria so far.

“Some of the refugees are so traumatised when they arrive that they are visibly shaking,” says Dima Haddad, from Caritas Lebanon, who headed one of the previous evacuations. “We try to get them to the airport and repatriated as quickly as possible.”

Processing the refugees’ evacuation can take up to 10 hours for each group. Caritas Lebanon has been working with the International Organization of Migration, and the Syrian and Philippines embassy to help facilitate the bureaucracy of leaving Syria and returning home through Lebanon.

Social workers are on the border to give counseling. Caritas staff also make ad hoc distributions of clothes to those not prepared for the bad weather. If needed, Caritas accommodates the refugees for a night before taking them to the airport.

Snowy conditions have led to detours making the journey out of Syria longer than envisaged, causing one group of refugees to miss their plane.

The Philippines embassy is looking for 3000 Filipinos who are thought to be still in Syria. Many are domestic workers and must have the permission of their employers to leave. Despite the danger from staying in Syria, not all employers give their staff permission to return home.

For further information please contact Michelle Hough on +39 06 6987 9752 or +39 334 234 4136