July 4, 2013
By Patrick Nicholson “There were bodies everywhere,” said Ali. “We had two choices if we wanted to live: Turkey or Lebanon. We came to Lebanon because I thought I would find work.” Ali (49), Aaicha (34) and their five children came to Lebanon 18 months ago from Idlib in north-western Syria. The deciding factor was when the next door house was hit by a rocket, killing 18 people. Life in Syria had gotten progressively worse for them since the start of the conflict in early 2011. There was no electricity or running water. Inflation was rampant. What cost 15 Syrian pounds before the war, now cost 150 Syrian pounds. “You had to stand in line for three hours just to buy bread,” said Ali. And then there were the bombs, rockets and air attacks. When they first arrived in Lebanon, the family lived in a small tent. Now they rent a room in Mount [...]
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 [...]
May 29, 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 [...]
April 24, 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 [...]
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 [...]
January 24, 2013
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.
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 [...]
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 [...]
December 19, 2012
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”.