May 4, 2012

Syrian church calls for an end to cycle of violence

By |4 May 2012|

By Patrick Nicholson The Catholic Church in Syria has made this powerful statement on the crisis there, where daily violence continues to have a deadly toll and more people are crossing the borders to neighbouring countries. The statement is in French. It’s calling for an end to the violence and especially all forms of intimidation such as kidnappings and assassinations. It supports the humanitarian mission of UN Envoy Kofi Annan and especially the need to demilitarise the streets. The Syrican church says in the statement (my translation), “The violence has gone beyond the limit and we can only forcefully urge wise minds to come to their senses and abondon all that is destroying the people and the country.” The Syrian church is saying it stands in solidarity with all Syrians as they seek a dignified life. It supports the reform process, the need for a democratic and pluralistic society and […]

April 26, 2012

Conflict in Syria

By |26 April 2012|

An uprising against the Syrian government and the President Bashar al-Assad has left 9000 people dead since fighting broke out in March 2011. Tens of thousands of people have fled their homes. Many have sought safety in neighbouring countries such as Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, others remain in Syria. Conditions within Syria and for the refugees who have fled are bleak. They need food, shelter and medical assistance. Children need educational support and adults don’t have access to employment. Caritas staff members are providing aid both within Syria and to those refugees who have fled in Jordan and Lebanon. Caritas Turkey is also willing to respond. Pope Benedict’s Holy Thursday Mass collection went to Caritas Syria for humanitarian assistance to Syrian’s forced from their homes because of the conflict. "Particularly in Syria, may there be an end to bloodshed and an immediate commitment to the path of respect, dialogue and reconciliation, as called for [...]

March 28, 2012

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    Caritas Jordan aiding Syrian refugees while Pope pledges Caritas Syria Easter donation

Caritas Jordan aiding Syrian refugees while Pope pledges Caritas Syria Easter donation

By |28 March 2012|

Refugees continue to flee conflict in Syria to Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. Meanwhile, the Vatican has announced that Pope Benedict’s Holy Thursday Mass collection in St. John’s basilica will go  to Caritas Syria for humanitarian assistance to Syrian’s forced from their homes because of the conflict. In the latest update from Caritas Jordan, staff say the number of registered Syrians with them has reached 900 families in Mafraq and Ramtha, comprising 4500-5000 individuals. About 20 individuals are registering daily with Caritas; some are legally staying in Jordan while others managed to jump over the fence and got into the Jordanian territories that way. After carrying out a distribution of household items in Ramtha and Mafraq two weeks ago, Caritas managed in the past three days to distribute blankets, heaters, bed linens, quilts, towels, plastic mats, sanitary pads, mattresses and jerry cans to 200 Syrian families in Mafraq. This batch targeted […]
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    Caritas in Lebanon and Jordan doing more to help Syrian refugees

Caritas in Lebanon and Jordan doing more to help Syrian refugees

By |23 March 2012|

By Patrick Nicholson Syrian refugees continue to flee into neighbouring Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon. They’re trying to escape fighting between government and opposition forces that began last March. Caritas members in the region are looking to respond to the growing needs of the refugees. Living conditions are difficult. Hamid* brought his wife and children from Tal Kalakh in Syria to Wadi Khaled just across the border in northern Lebanon as soon as fighting started in March 2011. He said he feared that the situation would go from “bad to very bad” because of sectarianism and thought it safer to leave while he could. His family of six have lived for six months in one of the rooms of an old abandoned school building. Fifteen families live in the school. The rooms are tiny, damp and cold. His wife couldn’t cope so she went home at one point. “I would have […]

Caritas aid reaches Syrian refugees in Lebanon

By |16 March 2012|

“The situation is bad,” said Fatima*. She had arrived from Syria into Lebanon that morning with five of her seven children. They’d fled from Kosayr, a suburb of Homs that’s currently undergoing heavy shelling as fighting continues between the government and opposition forces. Her husband stayed on while her teenage boys were stopped from leaving. She and the rest of the children had walked two hours across the border. They’re staying in a bare concrete storeroom, normally used for farm equipment. The refugees brought nothing with them. Snow still covers the mountains of the Bekaa Valley. It’s cold and windy in the remote rural border area. There are two mats on the floor of the room and a crate of empty cola bottles. There is no heating. Caritas Lebanon is carrying out an aid distribution in Bekaa and gives them a box of food, with pasta, rice, oil and other bare [...]

Syrian refugees flee to Lebanon with stories of terror

By |13 March 2012|

By Patrick Nicholson  *Mohamed’s son was born a few weeks ago during the battle for Bab Amro, a suburb of the Syrian city of Homs. “The baby was delivered by a dentist,” says the father, in a makeshift clinic that previously been a neighbour’s home. “There wasn’t any medical equipment,” he says. Locals had given whatever cotton wool and bandages they could find. The dentist was mainly treating shrapnel wounds that day, but babies don’t wait for wars to end before being born. Bab Amro has seen the worst of the conflict in Syria since an uprising began in March 2011. Life there during the siege for Mohamed, his wife, three-year old daughter and new-born son was one of daily survival. “There was bombing night and day,” says Mohamed. Water and food had run out. There was no electricity. Mohamed would try to find water in the abandoned houses of neighbours who [...]

Aiding Syrian refugees in Lebanon

By |6 March 2012|

Caritas Lebanon is aiding Syrian refugee families who have arrived in Lebanon throughout the past few months. A team from the Caritas Lebanon organised a two-day fact finding mission to the north-east of Lebanon in February. The team included staff from the Caritas Lebanon Migrant Centre and Caritas Baalbeck. Across the border with Syria in the Bekaa valley, two villages Qaa and Jdeide are currently hosting twelve Christian Syrian families from Homs and Rable. All of the refugees escaped Syria and arrived from five months to one week ago. They said Caritas was the first NGO to visit them. They did not plan to flee into Lebanon. But because their homes were shelled or because one of their relatives or friends were killed, they got scared and escaped as soon as they could. As a result, most of them came with nothing except the clothes they were wearing at the time. Now, they have found [...]

February 20, 2012

Caritas aids Syrian refugees in Lebanon, Jordan

By |20 February 2012|

As violence in Syria continues, thousands of its people have streamed into the neighbouring countries of Lebanon and Jordan. “Syrians are approaching Caritas offices on a daily basis, asking for help,” according to a recent Caritas Jordan field report. “Every day, there are new Syrians crossing the border into Jordan.” Governments, charities, and host families are struggling to find housing, food and school space for the refugees. In Lebanon, “the majority of refugees are staying in host families that are already poor and living in difficult conditions,” says Najla Chahda of the Caritas Lebanon Migrant Center. “As a result, many hygiene problems are appearing.” In both countries, Caritas is distributing essential items to refugee families. The Caritas Lebanon Migrant Center has given out blankets, underwear, baby items, and hygiene kits to thousands of people. Caritas Jordan is coordinating the distribution of milk and has started giving aid parcels to Syrian families [...]

June 15, 2011

Caritas assessing needs of Syrian refugees

By |15 June 2011|

Caritas Turkey is sending a delegation today to the border region of Hatay to gather information about the Syrian refugees who have crossed the border following the crisis in their country. Thousands of refugees fled to Turkey and also to Lebanon following military operations in their country as a result of recent popular unrest. "Caritas is collecting basic information regarding the humanitarian needs of the population in coordination with the government and other national and international aid agencies,” says Joseph Farah, president of Caritas Middle East and North Africa (MONA). Reports say there are around 5,000 refugees in the camps run by the Turkish Red Crescent and the government in the region of Hatay and it seems that it is mainly vulnerable population, elderly, women and children. Recent clashes in the Syrian town of Jisr al-Shughour have caused further increase in the number of people seeking refuge in Turkey. The Syrian Government is [...]

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