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Vatican agency provides emergency aid to Lebanese families

26 Jul 2006 – NEW YORK – CNEWA’s initial response to assist displaced families fleeing southern Lebanon includes the distribution of emergency supplies to 2,000 needy families (approximately five persons per family) seeking shelter in five areas now considered safe – Baabda, Jbeil, Jezzine, Kesserwan and Metn. Issam Bishara, CNEWA’s Regional Director for Lebanon and Syria, reports a total of 5,778 families, 1,004 of whom are Christian, now live in public schools, private homes, convents and other Catholic institutions in these safe havens.

CNEWA’s aid packages – valued at U.S. $100 per family – include a two-week supply of canned food (beans, cheese, corned beef, fish and sugar), powdered milk for children, detergents and soap, toilet paper and disposable plates. Emergency aid for 500 families has already been secured; deliveries will be completed by Friday, 28 July.

To date, CNEWA has received initial pledges for more than €70,000 in emergency grants from a number of European funding partners, including Misereor, the humanitarian agency of the German Catholic bishops, and Missio Aachen, an international Catholic aid organization based in Aachen, Germany. Additional pledges are expected in the next few days.

Founded in 1926 by Pope Pius XI, CNEWA is an agency of the Vatican providing support to the churches and peoples of the Middle East, Northeast Africa, India and Eastern Europe. Its projects include needy child, seminarian and religious sister sponsorship programs; village redevelopment; health care and education; and public awareness and interreligious dialogue.

Contributions, which are tax-deductible to the full extent of law, can be sent by mail to CNEWA, 1011 First Avenue, New York, NY 10022-4195, or through CNEWA’s web site, www.cnewa.org.