July 3, 2013

Give me shelter: Syrian refugees in Lebanon

By |3 July 2013|

By Patrick Nicholson Since the start of the conflict in 2011 in Syria, over 1.7 million people have fled to neighbouring countries. Lebanon has received the largest number of refugees in the region. Although there are half a million Syrian refugees registered in Lebanon, the true number is estimated to be beyond 1 million. Every day, Caritas staff meets hundreds of new arrivals from Syria, each with their own account of the horrors they've seen. Sometimes it can be overwhelming.  “When I hear all their stories, it feels like my head will explode,” said Mireille, a Caritas social worker in Beirut. Suitable accommodation has long since run out in the small country, and the refugees must find anywhere they can for shelter. Caritas Lebanon is providing aid and care to the Syrian refugees wherever they might be. Khatar Khatar (42) lives with her six children in a cowshed on a farm in the Bekaa [...]

June 21, 2013

Who will save my beloved Syria?

By |21 June 2013|

One evening while the electricity was down, I took a walk in the popular area of ​​Tabbalé in Damascus. In the small dark streets, people passed each other by, their flashlights in hand. It’s a popular area, where Christians, the poor from every region and people from rural areas mix.

Syrian refugees suffering depression and stress

By |18 June 2013|

Syrian refugees fleeing to Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey have lost their homes, their belongings and their jobs or schools. They’ve witnessed war at home and faced a perilous journey to escape. (Caritas emergency appeal on Syria) Now, as refugees, they live in tents, makeshift apartments or in tiny rooms. In Lebanon, eight of ten need food, seven out of ten need shelter and three-quarters of the children have no access to education. While much of their suffering is visible, many are also dealing with the trauma of their recent experiences. The refugees are also worried about loved ones still in Syria or transfixed by the stream of terrible news as their country is torn apart. Depression, anxiety, insomnia, neurosis and stress are common. In a Caritas survey of 950 Syrian men and women refugees aged between 18 and 60 in Jordan, one in five people were in need of some form psychological [...]

Pope Francis appeals for peace in Syria

By |5 June 2013|

Pope Francis met with humanitarian groups dealing with the Syrian crisis on Wednesday including those from the Caritas confederation. "In the face of ongoing and overwhelming violence, I strongly renew my appeal for peace," said the Holy Father. The event included representatives from Church organisations including Caritas Syria, Caritas organisations in the region who are assisting the refugees and Caritas organisations from around world supporting the work. He encouraged the initiatives of the international community to bring an end to the conflict. “The work of various Catholic charitable agencies is extremely significant: assisting the Syrian population, without regard for ethnic or religious affiliation, is the most direct way to contribute to peace,” he said. Read the text of the Pope’s speech: Dear Friends, I would like to thank you for coming together and for all the humanitarian work which you are doing to aid the suffering peoples of Syria and nearby countries owing to the [...]

May 23, 2013

Urgent call for action: protect Syrian people from more slaughter

By |23 May 2013|

Caritas has been responding to the needs of Syrians since the first days of the crisis in March 2011, supporting both those inside the country and refugees throughout the region. Caritas has helped more than 100,000 people in need, without discrimination. However, this is only a temporary remedy. There cannot be an end to the suffering of the Syrian population as long as the fighting continues. The situation today is desperate. It must stop. Caritas is deeply concerned about the rising number of victims, especially civilians who live in constant fear and in precarious conditions inside Syria. Neighbouring countries have generously kept their borders open, but the rising flow of refugees has brought them economically and socially to their limits. “What will happen to us, to my family, to my children? Our houses and cities are bombed and all our lives are wounded. I never thought that I was going to look [...]

The tragedy of everyday life in Aleppo

By |13 May 2013|

By Bishop Audo of Aleppo, Caritas Syria President For two years Syria has been pulled apart by conflict. Violence and anarchy have become widespread. We have become conditioned by tragedy.  Our minds and hearts have been constricted by fear and by caution. But I do my best to keep my heart and eyes open to what is happening.  And I’m pained by the terrible poverty I see. A few days ago, I was walking in Souleimanié, a Christian quarter in Aleppo. People were surprised to see me walking alone. Immediately they feared that I might be kidnapped. The kidnappings of two priests and two bishops have traumatized many Christians in Syria. As I walked, I saw four children in their early teens sitting around a table on the pavement playing cards. They were the children of merchants. They no longer go to school but just send their time playing cards. […]

Syria through the eyes of its children

By |8 May 2013|

Four million people have had their lives shattered by the war in Syria, half of them are children. For the millions of children still inside the country, everyday is a struggle.

Syria crisis: refugees in Turkey

By |3 May 2013|

April 24, 2013

Out of control Syrian crisis threatening region

By |24 April 2013|

The humanitarian situation in Lebanon is desperate as over a million Syrian refugees seek safety in their tiny neighbour. “What we have been seeing is unbelievable, says President of Caritas Lebanon, Fr. Simon Faddoul. “The numbers are growing in an incredible way. The situation is getting worse. It’s becoming disastrous.”

Caritas Lebanon comes to aid of Syrian refugees

By |12 April 2013|

By Soraya Naufal, Caritas Lebanon - Information and Communication Department The number of Syrian refugees who have fled to Lebanon since the beginning of the Syrian crisis in March 2011 has officially reached the alarming figure of one million individuals (mostly women and children). This, in a country of approximately four million inhabitants, already shaken by numerous conflicts over the past five decades, could lead to a disastrous humanitarian situation. In order to reduce and prevent, from the start, social and humanitarian complications, Caritas Lebanon was among the first NGOs to rapidly deploy in the Bekaa valley and in the border regions, thus relieving both Christian and Muslim Syrian refugees and providing them with basic humanitarian needs: clothes, food, blankets... Its intervention is set up in collaboration with the UNHCR and the UNICEF, and according to the SPHERE standards. Medical assistance targets mainly women and children in Caritas Lebanon’s Health Care Centers [...]

Eye witness accounts of the war in Syria

By |4 April 2013|

By Caritas staff These last three days have been particularly difficult and deadly in Aleppo. Caritas works in the Jabal Es Saydeh quarter with families who have been forced from their homes. But it is now empty of all its residents, driven from their homes by heavy fighting.  The local sheikh was murdered. He had opposed the armed groups. He was beheaded and his severed head displayed for passersby to see. Homes have been occupied by fighters and used as advanced firing positions. Bullets and bombs rain down ceaselessly on Jabal Es Saydeh and adjacent neighbourhoods.  Snipers dominate the city. They’ve moved into areas previously thought safe before. Christian parts of the city which were thought safe have become the front line.  Families have had to flee from place to place looking for safety.  Aleppo has witnessed a major wave of people, both Christian and Muslim, leaving because they no […]

Tragic death of Syrian baby in Lebanon

By |4 April 2013|

By Caritas Lebanon Migrants Centre The parents of 8-month old Amjad Aalawayn came to the Caritas Lebanon Migrant Centre in Zahle in the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon on Wednesday 3 April looking for help for their sick baby. The family were Syrian refugees, fleeing the fighting in their country. The baby was pale, listless and had no appetite. They came to Caritas after one hospital had refused to admit Amjad because of money issues. A Caritas social worker contacted a paediatrician to transfer him to a hospital, but sadly he passed away while waiting for medical assistance. Our social worker contacted the hospital where he was transferred, whereby they confirmed the death of 8-month old Amjad. No cause of death was declared as was dead on arrival. May this angel’s soul rest in peace, a peace he certainly didn’t find in here. Many sick children have been referred to Caritas from the same [...]

Lebanon buckling under influx of refugees

By |3 April 2013|

By Jos de Vogd, CORDAID (Caritas Netherlands) After two years of fighting in Syria, the flow of refugees into neighbouring Lebanon is increasing the pressure on this small country by the day. According to recent government figures, more than a million Syrians are now in Lebanon. And every week more than 10,000 more displaced people, all looking for accommodation, are adding to the problem because there are no official refugee camps there. The numbers include refugees registered or waiting to be registered with the UN refuge agency UNHCR. But they also include people who are either not willing to register as well as seasonal workers who didn’t return to Syria because of the civil war, instead persuading their families to join them in Lebanon. Also included are Palestinian refugees from Syria and Lebanon who were permanently living in Syria. At the moment, one in five people in Lebanon come from Syria. There [...]

March 13, 2013

Escape from Syria, safe haven in Jordan

By |13 March 2013|

More than a million Syrian refugees have fled the conflict in their country. Half of them have gone to Jordan, where they mostly live side by side with Jordanians in towns and cities. They arrive with nothing, often suffering from trauma and health problems. Caritas members around the world are supporting Caritas Jordan to provide them with humanitarian aid like blankets, heaters, fuel, food and hygiene kits, as well as medical care, housing support, informal education and counselling for trauma. So far Caritas Jordan has registered 75,000 individuals for its assistance.

February 21, 2013

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    Refugee helping refugee: inspiring stories from the Syrian crisis

Refugee helping refugee: inspiring stories from the Syrian crisis

By |21 February 2013|

By Patrick Nicholson Tahani and Rahaf are both Syrian refugees who volunteer for Caritas Jordan to help their compatriots. “We had a normal life,” said Rahaf Al Jaber, a 20 year old woman from the Syrian capital Damascus. “We went to university. We had friends. We were even a little spoiled by our parents. And then suddenly we had nothing. We were cold, hungry and alone.” Rahaf fled with her family to Jordan after her father was threatened. “My father received a phone call saying he should leave or he will be killed. We left the house straight away, without time to pack.  We learned that our house was burned down later. We fled along back roads and through fields to avoid checkpoints. We walked across the border.” They went to Zaatri refugee camp once they were in Jordan. “It’s in a desert. Life is very difficult,” she said. “We slept in tents [...]

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