Caritas Internationalis President Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga will open a High Level Caritas meeting 15-17 September in Rome for the crises in the Middle East, including Syria, Gaza and Iraq. Around 80 participants from the region and around the world are expected, including the Caritas leadership in the affected countries.
The aim of the meeting is to analyse the humanitarian situation in Syria, Gaza and Iraq and the current and future Caritas response.
Caritas Internationalis Secretary General Michel Roy said, “The Middle East is in turmoil. Caritas organisations are overwhelmed as needs grow and resources shrink. This is far beyond our capacity and that of others. A major move has to take place. We cannot accept that the lives of whole societies, millions of people who used to live together in peace, are being destroyed.”
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“We’re coming together to plan how best to respond to this regional tragedy in the coming months and years and how we can work together with others in the Catholic Church and beyond to promote peace and stability in the region,” said the Caritas Internationalis Secertary General.
The crisis in Syria has left over 13 million people in need of aid both inside and outside the country. There is a ceasefire in heavily damaged Gaza, but no long-term plan to end the cycle of violence. Resumption of conflict in Iraq has forced over a million people from their homes.
Caritas has responded to the needs of nearly a million people over the last three years affected by the crises in Syria, Gaza and Iraq. This includes shelter, healthcare, food, basic needs, education, protection for women and children, trauma counselling and peacebuilding.