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4 May 2012
A damaged church is seen in Homs, Syria, 30 March.
(photo: CNS/Shaam News Network, handout via Reuters)
After more than one year of unrest, the ongoing political crisis in Syria has caused tens of thousands to be caught in the crossfire between government and opposition forces. As a result, thousands of Syrians have fled their homes choosing to escape the violence. Many have migrated to neighboring countries, while others moved to safer and more stable areas in Syria.
The deteriorating economic conditions led by the conflict and the sanctions imposed on Syria have created high levels of unemployment and inflation. Since March 2011, the Syrian pound has depreciated against the U.S. dollar by nearly 65 percent. This has significantly affected Syrian families, who now find it difficult to pay for food, rent and fuel. The rise in prices is driving low-income Syrians deep into poverty.
Working in close collaboration with the local churches, CNEWA has been able to identify by name more than 1,770 displaced families living in dire economic situations, jeopardizing child nutrition and health:
- 400 families remain in Homs (despite the military actions), according to the Good Shepherd Sisters.
- 450 families left Homs and found refuge in Damascus, according to the Greek Catholic Patriarchate of Antioch and the Good Shepherd Sisters.
- 920 families left Homs and found shelter in the cluster called the “Valley of Christians,” according to by the social service office of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch.
In response to this urgent humanitarian need, CNEWA’s regional office in Lebanon launched an emergency program for the aid of Syrian families. CNEWA is working through existing structures of the Greek Catholic, Greek Orthodox and Latin churches to reach the most needy.
The first phase of the program includes distribution of emergency kits containing food, hygiene items and baby milk.
CNEWA and other donor agencies have pooled resources to reach around 1000 needy Christian families in the Syrian cities of Homs, Valley of Christians, Tartous, Damascus and other locations on the Syrian/Lebanese border.
So far CNEWA received positive responses from:
- The Raskob Foundation (US)
- The Holy Childhood (Germany)
- Missio (Germany)
- The Archdiocese of Cologne (Germany)
To find out how you can help, visit this link.
And to read more about the unfolding crisis, check out these blog posts: The Faithful Who Are Fleeing the Holy Land and The Struggles of Syria’s Christians.
Tags: Syria Middle East Violence against Christians CNEWA Pontifical Mission