Since 2011, violence in Syria has forced thousands of people to leave their homeland, with a huge wave of refugees pouring into Lebanon, Jordan, and Turkey. Caritas is giving refugees food, medical care, and emergency items.
Why are so many people fleeing Syria? A conflict between government and anti-government forces in Syria has escalated sharply since early 2011. Aerial bombardments, shooting on the streets, sniper attacks, and other types of violence have hurt thousands of Syrian civilians. Many Syrians were hiding in their homes for months, unable to work or go to school, before they decided to flee to other countries to escape the violence. Most Syrians remain in their country. Some have been displaced and face the same challenges that Syrian refugees abroad face. Caritas is providing food in Aleppo and Homs, mainly for displaced people. Where are the Syrian refugees going? The refugees are primarily fleeing to the neighbouring countries of Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. Some Iraqi refugees who were living in Syria have now fled back to Iraq. Where do the refugees live? Some refugee families are living in apartments or old buildings, often crowding into very small [...]
Since 2011, violence in Syria has forced thousands of people from their homes. In mid-July 2012, the conflict worsened rapidly and a huge wave of refugees poured into Lebanon, Jordan, and Turkey. On July 24, Father Simon Faddoul, the head of Caritas Lebanon, spoke with Caritas Internationalis about the plight of the new refugees in his country. The situation has deteriorated rapidly in the past week. Can you tell us what’s happening now? The past five days have been extremely dangerous to the people of Syria. People are fleeing the war and coming to Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey. Here in Lebanon, it’s been like a human flood over the border from Damascus. In 24 hours we had, at one time last week, over 15,000 people enter at one legal border crossing. If you count all the rest who come in other ways, it’s far more. They’re arriving in cars, trucks, buses, and [...]
The Catholic Church in Italy will hold a national fundraising collection in parishes Sunday 10 June following the earthquake and aftershocks that have affected the Emilia Romagna region. The Italian bishops have already allocated €3 million to help survivors of the quake that struck 20 May in the area of Modena and Ferrara and the large aftershocks which still continue. The funds collected 10 June will be used by Caritas Italy (known locally as Caritas Italiana) to help in the aftermath of the disaster. Caritas Italy has already pledged €100,000. See the poster: poster_terremotonorditalia_A3 Up to now 150,000 people have been forced from their homes with 15,000 living in tents Caritas Italy says that with aftershocks continuing, fear is increasing among those evacuated from their homes. Its staff are working with local diocesan Caritas Emilia Romagna workers to coordinate the emergency response through a coordination centre has been set up in the [...]
The announcement today of the Scottish Government's Climate Justice Fund has been welcomed by international development and environmental organisations in Scotland. The fund was launched by Scotland’s First Minister, Alex Salmond, alongside former President of Ireland Mary Robinson. SCIAF, the Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund, a member of the global Caritas Internationalis network of Catholic development agencies, is among the groups welcoming the news. The new fund to help people living in some of the world's poorest countries affected by the changing climate, such as more frequent and severe droughts and floods, has cross-party support in the Scottish Parliament. The Climate Justice Fund will be a good example to bring to the Rio+20 summit in June of how the rich world can face up to its historic responsibility for climate change and its substantial negative impact on many of the world’s poorest people. Philippa Bonella, Head of Communications and Education at SCIAF, said, [...]
Caritas Italy continues to respond to families left homeless by the magnitude-6.0 earthquake that shook northern Italy last weekend. The quake was the worst to hit the country since the L’Aquila tremor killed nearly 300 people in central Italy in 2009. Don Francis Soddu, director of Caritas Italiana, has been visiting the affected area, the dioceses are most affected are Modena, Bologna and Ferrara. Soddu stresses that Caritas’ existing network of relationships helped it get involved immediately through the local dioceses. “People have confidence in solidarity here. The network of charity in Italy has always mobilized and been a source of generosity and good will.” In the area of Emilia-Romagna, Caritas is setting up a center to match people’s needs with what has been given. Volunteers are talking to the affected people and finding out what is most urgently needed. Caritas Italy reports that there is still much fear about aftershocks. [...]
An earthquake in northern Italy has killed at least seven people, caused serious damage to buildings in several towns and left about 3000 people homeless. The magnitude-6.0 quake struck in the middle of Saturday night, about 35km north of the city of Bologna. Caritas Italy’s Director Don Francesco Soddu immediately traveled to the affected area. He said, “We’re close to the people in prayer and to particular the families of the victims. We will support the local church in providing aid.” Pope Benedict XVI said that he was “spiritually close to those affected by this calamity" during his regular Sunday Angelus greeting in St. Peter’s Square. Don Soddu discussed the response with local Caritas staff, inculding the directors of Caritas Emilia-Romagna, Modena and Bologna and Arcbishop Paolo Rabitti of Ferrara-Comacchio. Local Caritas staff members are ready to provide shelter and first aid. The quake was the worst to hit the country since the L'Aquila [...]
Every year, thousands of desperate migrants from Africa cross the Mediterranean, hoping to reach southern Europe. Caritas is focusing on their needs at the Migramed conference, held this week in Cagliari, Italy. Before trying to cross the Mediterranean, many of these migrants have already spent months travelling through Africa, often fleeing violence, poverty or hunger. They embark from Libya, Tunisia, Egypt, Morocco and Algeria, with some migrants detained for long periods in Libyan prisons before leaving for Italy or Malta. Their boat trips frequently fail. Some die in the sea, victims of bad weather. Others are sent back to their transit country after being intercepted by the Italian or Libyan navy.
Caritas is hosting a congress on Global Hunger and Sustainable Food Security - 1st and 2nd of June 2012 in Vienna Live stream from the Future without Hunger Conference. Cardinal Rodriguez about to speak. | Read the key note speech by Cardinal Rodriguez Maradiaga (pdf) 925 million people worldwide are starving. Every 12 seconds, a child dies of hunger. Hunger is not a natural event; it has social, economic and political causes. It is a global tragedy, more so because it is avoidable. Through this congress, Caritas is uniting people to start fighting together against hunger. The event will gather public authorities and decision-makers, academics, journalists and civil society representatives from the whole world. It will discuss all the challenges to food security today, such as the chronic causes of global hunger, global agricultural trade, armed conflicts, the effectiveness of development aid, food price speculation, land grabbing and agro-fuel policies, climate change, food waste, sustainable lifestyles [...]
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 [...]