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Caritas helps Syrian victims of war inside and outside the country
Syria’s humanitarian crisis is the biggest emergency for Caritas right now. The vicious conflict has forced 6 million Syrians out of their homes – 2 million of them into other countries – and has left more than 230 000 people dead.
Pope Francis is closely engaged with the crisis and is calling constantly for an end to the fighting. He has highlighted the assistance Caritas has given to Syrians regardless of their ethnic or religious affiliation as the best way to contribute towards peace.
Caritas gives them clothes, blankets and food parcels. If they are too sick or too poor to reach one of Caritas’ medical centres, a doctor visits them. It helps them find shelter, warmth and schooling for their children. Counsellors offer support to cope with depression and bereavement.
Despite the enormous difficulties and dangers, Caritas Syria continues to work inside the country. It provides emergency assistance from its centres, which are sometimes on the frontline.
Caritas Updates from Syria
Bishop Antoine Audo, the Chaldean Bishop of Aleppo and president of Caritas Syria, addressed a side event at the United Nations in Geneva on the crisis in Syria.
Caritas Internationalis President Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle visited a refugee camp in Lebanon in February 2016 as part of the Syria: Peace is Possible Campaign.
On the 22 February 2015, the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) attacked villages along the Khabour river in northern Syria. They kidnapped around 230 Assyrian Christians, including the family of a Caritas Syria staff member. They have just been released along with all the other hostages.
Caritas interviewed 288 Syrian refugee families in Beirut, Tripoli, and Saida. It found that refugee households paid an average $291 in rent and were forced to spend an average three-quarters (76%) of their total income on rental.
More than half of the Syrian refugees (56%) in Lebanon are under 18. While only one in ten was injured in the conflict before arriving in Lebanon, many of the child refugees show symptoms of trauma, including flashbacks and nightmares.
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