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 [...]
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 [...]
Caritas Internationalis in collaboration with Caritas Syria held a high level meeting of Caritas organisations in the Vatican on 21-22 March to discuss and make further plans to help and provide assistance to all people suffering from the Syria crisis. Caritas members pledged their support to the work of Caritas Syria, and to members in the region who are helping in Syria, Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan with food, shelter, medical supplies, healthcare, education and finding employment in combined programmes of nearly €15 million. Those programmes have been focused over the last few months on helping Syrians survive the winter, but will be extended as we move into spring and summer. Caritas provides aid to Syrians regardless of their political or religious beliefs. At the end the meeting, Caritas organisations joined their voices to send a strong message of hope and solidarity to people suffering from the conflict in Syria: “In this Holy [...]
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.
By Patrick Nicholson “Each Syrian you meet will tell you a different story; but they are all the same tragedy,” said Fawaz, a refugee who crossed into Jordan last month. Since the conflict began two years ago in Syria, its cities have been devastated, its people go hungry, living in fear, 70,000 are dead and around 3 million have been forced from their homes. Half of the Syrian refugees who have fled their country are in Jordan. Most live in urban areas in rented rooms. Caritas Jordan provides them with humanitarian aid, housing support, healthcare, education and counseling. Here are five of their stories. Fawaz Fawaz cradles his 20-day old baby girl in his arms as they wait at the Caritas clinic in Amman. The baby has a high fever and has been born with a hip problem. Thankfully her twin brother is healthy and happy. The twins were born just days after Fawaz [...]
Caritas teams in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey are providing humanitarian aid to over 100,000 people affected by the escalating Syrian conflict. Caritas has launched international appeals for all four countries, which combined total €5 million. (Read: Overwhelming humanitarian crisis within Syria) Conditions for ordinary people in Syria are deteriorating rapidly with a lack of food , clean water, shelter and medical care. The violence has left tens of thousands of people dead and more than 2.5 million people in need of urgent aid. More than 1.5 million forced from their homes remain within Syria. Families sleep outdoors, in abandoned schools or in makeshift camps. The economy has collapsed and savings have been spent long ago. Providing aid is difficult and dangerous, but Caritas has been able to carry on its work and will provide winter fuel, blankets, warm clothes, heaters and rent subsidies in Damascus, Aleppo, Homs and Hassakeh. Read how Caritas has [...]
Violence in Syria has left tens of thousands of people dead and more than 2,5 million people in need of urgent aid. Caritas teams in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey are providing humanitarian aid to over 100,000 people. Caritas has launched appeals totalling 5 million Euro to help them.
Under a blanket given by Caritas, a mother and child try to keep out the freezing cold temperatures and snow as they sleep out in the open in one of the parks of the Syrian capital Damascus. They are just two of 1.5 million people forced from their homes during the country’s civil war. Tens of thousands of people have been killed and injured in the fighting in Syria. Each day, many people live in fear of dying in a car bomb, having members of their families raped, or quite simply not being able to find enough food. With support from many other Caritas organisations, Caritas Syria has been providing food, medical assistance, helping children keep up with school and ensuring people are prepared for the winter. It has been working in Damascus, Aleppo, Homs, Hassakeh, Horan and on the coast. In the midst of a harsh winter, Syrians face freezing conditions, [...]
Pope Benedict has called for a ceasefire in Syria and for the international community to engage in a constructive dialogue. In an address to the Holy See's diplomatic corps, Pope Benedict called on diplomats "to resolve the numerous conflicts causing bloodshed in our human family, beginning with that privileged region in God’s plan, the Middle East. "I think first and foremost of Syria, torn apart by endless slaughter and the scene of dreadful suffering among its civilian population. I renew my appeal for a ceasefire and the inauguration as quickly as possible of a constructive dialogue aimed at putting an end to a conflict which will know no victors but only vanquished if it continues, leaving behind it nothing but a field of ruins." Read more...
By Marina Bellot, Secours Catholique/Caritas France Life is increasingly difficult for Syrian refugees in Lebanon now winter has come. However, Caritas Lebanon is by their side. Syrians who cross the border to Lebanon are looking for one thing for themselves and their families : to live in peace. Some 132,000 Syrian refugees have been registered by the UN refugee agency since the brutal conflict began in their country. Eighty percent are women and children who have fled, leaving behind their homes, their lives and their loved ones, who they sometimes later discover were killed in the war. Once across the border, some refugees are taken in by host families, particularly in the north of Lebanon where there are strong ties between the two peoples. Others rent small rooms which are sometimes home to more than a dozen people. But with the conflict entering its second year, the welcome is wearing out and in [...]
By Caritas Turkey There are tens of thousands Syrian refugee families living outside the tent camps along the Syria-Turkey border. This is a number increasing very fast day by day. About an hour far from Istanbul, some Syrian refugee families live in poor and crowded housing conditions. Ali, a 13 year old young boy, is worried for his father, who developed serious hypertension and heart problems recently, following the stress he has to endure every day. He, together with his family and children, had to flee in a rush from a conflict in Syria, facing a dangerous, long journey to cross the border into Turkey. Now, they do not know for how long they will have to stay in Turkey without sufficient resources, jobs, education, health services, and without being allowed to apply for asylum or being given an official status. They are worried about the rent, the future of their children, [...]
Caritas is calling for donations to help those struggling as a result of the war in Syria. Families who have lost homes and livelihoods need urgent help, especially as winter makes their lives even more difficult. Some 500,000 people have fled to neighbouring countries because of the conflict which started in March 2011. A further 1.5 million are internally displaced. Conditions for many left in the country are pitiful and up to 2.5 million people require help. “Many people’s lives and families have been shattered by this war,” says Bishop Antoine Audo, president of Caritas Syria. “We must accompany Syrians through this tragedy and show them that they are not alone. We mustn’t let the light go out on Syria in this cold and dark winter.” Caritas is appealing for US$822,100 (€637,287) for a six-month project which will help 1,600 families. The funds collected will help people face the winter. Caritas will provide [...]
Michel Roy, secretary general of Caritas Internationalis, has appealed to world leaders to get involved politically and diplomatically in the world's worst humanitarian crises. He singled out the conflict in Syria as needing particular attention from the international community: "What is happening in Syria is a big tragedy which is unfolding in front of our eyes and something has to be done." He was speaking at the UN World Food Programme in Rome. He was there to launch a massive global appeal with Valerie Amos, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator. The US$8.5 billion appeal will help an estimated 51 million people around the world in 2013. Read more about the appeal.
By Jos de Voogd, Bekaa Valley The news this week is that more than 500,000 Syrian refugees have been registered by the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) in the region, and the numbers are climbing by more than 3,000 per week as the conflict escaltes. Lebanon is the smallest of Syria’s neighbouring countries and bears one of the greatest burdens. There are 154,000 refugees are formerly registered or waiting for registration there. According to Kamal Sioufi, board member of Caritas Lebanon Migrant Centre this brings a heavy burden on the Lebanese society. “We have a history of conflict and of refugees coming to our country,” he said. “Lebanon already hosts a large numbers of Palestinians and to lesser extend Iraqi refugees. If the number of Syrian refugees keeps rising and if this situation will again last for years, we fear instability”.
Read in French “Everything is enveloped by a sense of ruin and decay,” says Bishop Antoine Audo, Chaldean bishop of Aleppo and president of Caritas Syria. “In Aleppo, there are hundreds of thousands of displaced people crammed into schools and makeshift camps. There are 5,000 people who sleep outside in the gardens of the university campus. “Conditions are getting worse. We have no hospital, no schools, no university. Even for those who still live in their homes, the situation is difficult. “Industrial areas on the outskirts of the city have been bombed and looted. For weeks, rubbish has not been collected. The stench has become unbearable.”