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Thursday, March 23, 2017
CAFOD launches appeal for humanitarian crisis in Middle East
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¬†CAFODhas launched an appeal for the humanitarian crisis in the Middle East to the Catholic parishes in England and Wales. The agency has already pledged £100,000 to its local partner Caritas Lebanon in Lebanon and £25,000 to its partner Caritas Jerusalem in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. International Director, Lesley Anne Knight, said: "There is an urgent humanitarian crisis developing in the Middle East. CAFOD are prepared to respond to humanitarian needs as they arise within the region through our local Church partners. We welcome the support of parishes in England and Wales in helping the people affected by the conflict." CAFOD supporters can donate through their local parish, through, directly to CAFOD's Brixton Office, and by calling: 0500 858 885. Caritas Lebanon is providing emergency assistance to families made homeless by the conflict and that are currently seeking shelter in schools in Beirut and southern Lebanon. Caritas estimates it will need emergency supplies for 50,000 people. It has one appeal alone from a school in Tyre housing 2,000 families. Caritas aims to provide food, cooking equipment, blankets, bedding, hygiene kits and medicine. It will also try to provide the schools with candles and arrange access to community generators in areas where electricity has been cut. Transport routes into the country have been badly affected, resulting in a shortage of food, medicine, and other supplies. Prices on the local markets have rocketed. Caritas says many of those it is seeking to help are Shia Muslims who are among the country's poorest people and that they were forced to flee their homes with nothing. Secretary General of Caritas Lebanon, Joseph Farah, said: "The health situation is becoming critical and is deteriorating rapidly. Medical supplies are beginning to diminish. Our worry especially is chronic illnesses. The hygiene situation is worrying." Caritas is also supporting migrant workers and refugees in Lebanon. They often live in Beirut's southern suburbs which have come under the heaviest bombing. Lebanese citizens are the priority in the shelters set up in the schools. The migrant workers and refugees lack the resources to find shelter elsewhere. They are often paid on a day-to-day basis, and if their employers have left, they have no income. Caritas has opened up a shelter for migrants and is in the process of setting up larger premises to meet the growing needs. Caritas will also provide them with food, blankets, and cooking utensils. CAFOD will be supporting Caritas Jerusalem to help counter the economic hardship in Gaza caused by the conflict. The cut off of most of the financial aid to the Palestinian National Authority has had a devastating effect on the poor in Gaza. The World Bank estimates that the poverty rate in Gaza could rise from the present 44 percent to as high as 74 percent of the population. Caritas Jerusalem will support the poorest to cover basic needs for life, including food, clothing, related household expenses, school fees, assistance for urgent medical treatment and job creation projects. CAFOD is backing a Caritas International appeal for all sides to end the violence escalating in Lebanon and in Gaza, to hold an immediate ceasefire and for all sides to come to the negotiating table.
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