Syria refugee crisis

By |25 October 2012|

While international efforts are made to bring about a ceasefire in Syria, refugees continue to flood over the border into neighbouring countries. Up to 360,000 have fled Syria as a result of the ongoing conflict there. They may have lost family members in the violence or been separated from them. They leave behind their homes and sometimes all their possessions. Caritas in Lebanon and Jordan welcome the refugees with shelter, food, basic necessities and moral support. However, as winter approaches and they face life in tents and temporary shelters, the hardships faced by the refugees are growing daily. Press release: Caritas struggling to meet Syria crisis Syrian crisis: Tough times ahead for refugees | Watch video 100,000 Syrians in Lebanon face hardship as winter looms  Caritas Jordan helping Syrian refugees Caritas blog: Life after Syria Interview with Bishop of Aleppo, Antoine Audo, describing the plight of Syrians people and their needs. Interview given to Aid to the Church in [...]

Life after Syria

By |25 October 2012|

“I thank Caritas every day for the assistance we received” Three months ago, Sanaa gave birth alone in her house, just a few days after arriving in Lebanon from Syria. She, her husband and their two young children ran away from heavy shelling .They are from Hama and did not know anyone in Lebanon. “We had no money to eat and we got scared for the children,” she said. “We know the situation will not get better soon in Syria”. A few years ago, her husband had an accident. Since then, he cannot move his right hand and has severe memory loss. Sometimes, he does not recognise his own wife. Despite this disability, he found a job as a gardener. But the salary is low and they cannot even afford nappies for their new born. The family was referred to Caritas Lebanon by a former municipality member in the Bekaa. They had never [...]

100,000 Syrians in Lebanon face hardship as winter looms

By |24 October 2012|

As the fighting intensifies throughout Syria, thousands of refugees continue to pour over the border. According to the latest figures from UNHCR (the UN refugee agency), there are 100,000 Syrian refugees in Lebanon registered and over double that figure not registered. “I see more people and more despair,” says Hombline Dulière, a social worker for Caritas Lebanon Migrant Center. “At the beginning of the summer most of the refugees I met thought they would be back in Syria in a matter of weeks. Now, for many people, the realisation that the situation will last longer, affects them deeply,” she said. Caritas staff and its volunteers are working around the clock to provide assistance to the refugees. However, as winter approaches, living conditions are getting precarious. Najla Chahda, director of Caritas Migrant Center, says, “Temperatures in the Bekaa Valley at night are around 8 degrees Celsius. In the coming weeks they will drop [...]

Pope presence in Lebanon lit candle for peace

By |25 September 2012|

Pope Benedict XVI said he had gone to Lebanon and to the Middle East as a “pilgrim of peace”. Over the next three days, he would return to the same theme of peace in the troubled region in every speech he delivered. President of Caritas Lebanon Father Simon Faddoul, reflecting on the visit, said, “The Pope was a messenger of peace to an area that is in a state of continuous war. His presence in Lebanon could bring conflicting parties closer.” The Pope came to deliver the Apostolic Exhortation - the fruit of the Synod for the Middle East. “In this Exhortation, the Pope invites the Christians to act as citizens of the land by living out their citizenship fully,” said Fr Faddoul. “And invites the Muslims to accept differences in multi-religious societies.” The pope's visit served as a showcase for Lebanon, which for years was a model of peaceful coexistence and religious [...]

Syrian refugees in Lebabon: A Caritas Lebanon film

By |12 September 2012|

Syrian refugees: ‘Caritas gave us hope’

By |5 September 2012|

By Shahera Khader Maria Abou Diman, a 28-year-old social worker in charge of Caritas Lebanon’s center in Taalabaya (Bekaa Valley), sits outside her office on a plastic white chair. Around her are faces filled with anxiety, hunger and exhaustion. An 80-year-old woman stands directly beside her. She hands Abou Diman her I.D. Her hands, filled with rivers of deep wrinkles, are shaking uncontrollably. She pierces Abou Diman with her mournful eyes. “How can I help you?” Abou Diman asks the woman. “I need more blankets, please, my daughter is cold and hungry,” the woman said. Others crowd around Aboud Diman, telling her their own names and what they need. Abou Diman pulls a chair up for the old woman and motions for her to take a seat. The Caritas Lebanon migrant center’s social worker stands and wipes the drops of sweat off her forehead; she has been receiving Syrian refugees […]

Syria: a people in flight

By |10 August 2012|

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. 

Q&A: Syrian refugee crisis

By |10 August 2012|

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 [...]

East Africa, one year later

By |9 August 2012|

The situation in 2011 was very critical. Thanks to the Caritas member organisations who supported us, our programmes have saved lives. Supplementary food has been distributed for some malnourished children in some pocket areas through Catholic health institutions and this contributed to save lives of this children.

Escaping bullets and bombs in Syria

By |6 August 2012|

As Syria refugees pour into Jordan, Turkey, and Lebanon, Caritas is giving them food, medical care, and emergency aid. Ilham, a mother of five, described a harrowing day in her home city to Caritas Communications Officer Laura Sheahen. I have nothing to do with the military, I am a civilian. We’re from Bab Amr, in Homs. One day I wanted to go get milk. My neighbour Adnan said, “Don’t go, I’ll bring you milk. I’m afraid you’ll be killed.” The snipers shoot from a long distance. We don’t see the shooter, but he sees us. It was about 2 pm and Adnan was bringing the milk to me, two containers. A shooter was up in a building in a small window. He was shot. The bullet went through his arm to his heart. I went out to try to save Adnan. The person who shot him also shot me, to prevent me from reaching [...]

Fleeing Syria: refugee parents tell their stories

By |3 August 2012|

Available in French By Laura Sheahen, Caritas Communications Officer “We’d move from neighbour to neighbour to escape the bombing,” says Ahmed, a father of six from the Syrian city of Homs. As civil war in his country escalated, he watched buildings bombarded and people injured or killed. “There came a moment when I looked at my children and thought, ‘nothing matters but them.’ I knew we had to leave.” If they only had themselves to worry about, thousands of Syrian parents might take their chances and stay in their country even as bombs drop and snipers fire. “If it were not for my children, I would never have left Syria. I should be there,” says Ahmed. Instead, he took his family to Jordan. Ilham, an epileptic mother of six, was shot in the leg by a sniper. But for several months after, she remained in Syria. “I didn’t want to […]

Mobile clinic visits Syrian refugee children

By |2 August 2012|

Available in French Tens of thousands of people have fled Syria to escape bombardments and shooting. Now living in cramped, unsanitary conditions in neighbouring countries, some refugees are falling ill. Doctor Simon Kolanjian is a pediatrician who travels in a Caritas Lebanon mobile clinic to treat refugee children. He spoke with Caritas Communications Officer Laura Sheahen about what he’s seen since the clinic on wheels started in May 2012. How are Syrian refugee children doing? The children are malnourished. They come to us and they’re weak and thin. A lot of kids have diarrhea. The water isn’t clean. I tell them to boil it. We need to tell them how to use water. The infections go up in summer. We can’t keep giving them antibiotics if the water’s bad. We must address the root cause. There are also upper respiratory infections, lice, fungal infections. How many kids do you usually […]

Niger’s poor share last food with Malian refugees

By |4 July 2012|

Since the start of the crisis, Caritas has been registering new arrivals, giving them tarpaulin for shelter, basic items like cooking pots, clothing and of course food.
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    South Sudan marks 1st anniversary in its long journey to development

South Sudan marks 1st anniversary in its long journey to development

By |3 July 2012|

On the road in South Sudan, landmine warnings flash by and demining groups work on unexploded bombs left over from war. But in a vehicle full of Caritas workers, the passengers are more worried about the insects flying around. Are they mosquitoes? Tsetse flies? The vehicle splashes through puddles where snails and worms live that can make you very ill. Almost every bad tropical disease you've heard of is found in this corner of East Africa. And nearly every problem a country can face is here: violence from within and without; almost no water systems, paved roads, electricity, schools or clinics; war orphans and war widows; half a million returnees with no homes; thousands of guns in the hands of armed groups. South Sudan, the world’s newest country, has it all. It has it all in a better sense, too: rich fields, plenty of natural resources, the blessing (or curse) of [...]

South Sudan’s lost generation comes home

By |3 July 2012|

“There was bombing and shelling, soldiers. My children kept saying, ‘What’s happening?’” Nyanareng, a 28-year-old mother of four, didn’t have time for long explanations when violence struck Abyei, a disputed border town between Sudan and South Sudan. She just told her children to run. “We walked five days on foot. We’d dig in the ground for water,” she said. It was May 2011, and hot in the bush. Her children survived. But her mother died of exhaustion. “We weren’t allowed to bury my mother in Touralei, so we came here, to Agok.” South Sudanese have often been the people nobody wants. Sometimes they’re shuffled from refugee camps to way-stations to transit areas. Or they’re targets, running from bombs and bullets, trying not to get separated from their children or wives or husbands. After a decades-long civil war, South Sudan is now its own country, a nation getting its people back. A huge fraction [...]

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