Syria: Caritas on alert as crisis escalates

Tank passes church

Tank passes church

Caritas teams in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey are providing humanitarian aid to more than 100,000 people affected by the escalating Syrian conflict. Caritas has launched international appeals for all four countries, which combined total €5 million.

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 been helping Syrians out of the cold

Caritas Syria President Bishop Antoine Audo says, “We’re coordinating emergency relief for tens of thousands of people desperately lacking food, medical care and shelter. They, like all of us, are frightened. They do not know what the future will be.”

More than half a million Syrians have fled to neighbouring countries. The numbers have been increasing rapidly and another 200,000 are expected in the next month. With winter approaching, Caritas is working to help those it can with protection against freezing temperatures.

In Lebanon, half of the 40,000 people that are registered with Caritas are children. Caritas Lebanon staff members are working on the winterisation of 800 tents in the bitterly cold Bekaa Valley. Many of the refugees left in a hurry, so Caritas provides them with warm clothes and blankets, as well as heating fuel.

Nine out of ten Syrian refugees that Caritas is helping in Lebanon are Muslims. Of the refugees, Caritas reports that Kurdish families are in the worse condition. Staff are also able to provide women and children with basic healthcare through a mobile clinic.

In Turkey, the main focus will be to provide 2000 families with food and hygiene items, but to also help them get through the winter by providing things such as blankets and heaters. Other services include medical assistance and counselling.

In Jordan, Caritas Jordan is already helping 60,000 people. It’s work includes three winterisation projects. Heaters, blankets, stoves, food and non-food items vouchers are distributed through Caritas in Amman, Irbid, Zarqa, Madaba and Mafraq.

Many of the refugees are in cities and urban areas, where staff are able to provide food and blankets and also help improve living conditions. Caritas Jordan will provide help to 25,500 people, including poor Jordanians, in the new year through an international appeal.

Source: Caritas

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