Caritas Jordan is providing aid to Syrian refugees fleeing conflict. Photo by Caritas Jordan
Refugees continue to flee conflict in Syria to Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. Meanwhile, the Vatican has announced that Pope Benedict’s Holy Thursday Mass collection in St. John’s basilica will go to Caritas Syria for humanitarian assistance to Syrian’s forced from their homes because of the conflict.
In the latest update from Caritas Jordan, staff say the number of registered Syrians with them has reached 900 families in Mafraq and Ramtha, comprising 4500-5000 individuals. About 20 individuals are registering daily with Caritas; some are legally staying in Jordan while others managed to jump over the fence and got into the Jordanian territories that way.
After carrying out a distribution of household items in Ramtha and Mafraq two weeks ago, Caritas managed in the past three days to distribute blankets, heaters, bed linens, quilts, towels, plastic mats, sanitary pads, mattresses and jerry cans to 200 Syrian families in Mafraq. This batch targeted newly registered families with UNHCR in addition to single males and females.
Caritas is expecting to receive more relief quantities as its partner Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) pledged to transport two shipping containers laden of food and non-food items. The distribution is taking place inside the Catholic Church vicinity as the priest has allocated one of the halls to place these items and receive the beneficiaries. The UN refugee agency UNHCR is presented there on a weekly basis to fulfill the needs of registration of families who are to receive these items. Continue reading
Nigel Wallace at a fundraising workshop with Caritas Lebanon staff members. Photo by Caritas Lebanon.
By Nigel Wallace, Caritas Internationalis Director of Income Development
Caritas Lebanon is very fortunate to have Fr. Simon Faddoul as its president. The charismatic priest and his enthusiastic team are dedicated to Caritas and helping the thousands of local people, migrants and refugees who rely on their support and aid. Caritas is far reaching with 36 geographic sectors throughout the country and 9 mobile clinics offering diverse services and programmes. Currently, much of their work is emergency response helping those fleeing from the crisis in Syria.
While Fr. Faddoul has been twisting arms of the wealthy in parishes and beyond to support the work of Caritas, there has been ever increasing recognition of the need to integrate the spontaneous generosity that already exists with a more sophisticated fundraising strategy to meet growing financial demands.
I recently had the pleasure to visit Caritas Lebanon to facilitate a 2-day fundraising workshop to help formulate that strategy. Continue reading
Conditions are difficult for Syrian refugees, water covers the floors of basic appartments, employment is not permitted and there is a lack of basics like nappies and other personal hygiene equipment.
Photos by Patrick Nicholson/Caritas. Photos by Patrick Nicholson/Caritas
By Patrick Nicholson
Syrian refugees continue to flee into neighbouring Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon. They’re trying to escape fighting between government and opposition forces that began last March. Caritas members in the region are looking to respond to the growing needs of the refugees.
Living conditions are difficult. Hamid* brought his wife and children from Tal Kalakh in Syria to Wadi Khaled just across the border in northern Lebanon as soon as fighting started in March 2011. He said he feared that the situation would go from “bad to very bad” because of sectarianism and thought it safer to leave while he could.
His family of six have lived for six months in one of the rooms of an old abandoned school building. Fifteen families live in the school. The rooms are tiny, damp and cold. His wife couldn’t cope so she went home at one point. “I would have preferred to die in Syria than live like this,” she said. She returned because she missed her children.
They have a three-month-old baby. The family receive food and medical help, but they need money for nappies and milk. Hamid is resigned to his fate. He will not go back until the situation in Syria changes, but he doesn’t hold out hope of a fast solution. Continue reading
By Patrick Nicholson
“The situation is bad,” said Fatima*. She had arrived from Syria into Lebanon that morning with five of her seven children. They’d fled from Kosayr, a suburb of Homs that’s currently undergoing heavy shelling as fighting continues between the government and opposition forces.
Her husband stayed on while her teenage boys were stopped from leaving. She and the rest of the children had walked two hours across the border. They’re staying in a bare concrete storeroom, normally used for farm equipment.
The refugees brought nothing with them. Snow still covers the mountains of the Bekaa Valley. It’s cold and windy in the remote rural border area. There are two mats on the floor of the room and a crate of empty cola bottles. There is no heating.
Caritas Lebanon is carrying out an aid distribution in Bekaa and gives them a box of food, with pasta, rice, oil and other bare essentials. It should last at least a month. Continue reading
The Caritas Lebanon Migrant Center is distributing hygiene items like soap to families who fled Syria. Photo courtesy of Caritas Lebanon
As violence in Syria continues, thousands of its people have streamed into the neighbouring countries of Lebanon and Jordan. “Syrians are approaching Caritas offices on a daily basis, asking for help,” according to a recent Caritas Jordan field report. “Every day, there are new Syrians crossing the border into Jordan.”
Governments, charities, and host families are struggling to find housing, food and school space for the refugees. In Lebanon, “the majority of refugees are staying in host families that are already poor and living in difficult conditions,” says Najla Chahda of the Caritas Lebanon Migrant Center. “As a result, many hygiene problems are appearing.”
In both countries, Caritas is distributing essential items to refugee families. The Caritas Lebanon Migrant Center has given out blankets, underwear, baby items, and hygiene kits to thousands of people. Caritas Jordan is coordinating the distribution of milk and has started giving aid parcels to Syrian families in the town of Ramtha.
In Mafraq, a Jordanian city near the border with Syria, the United Nations is opening a refugee camp. Caritas social workers in Mafraq city say that rent help and food are at the top of the requested needs of refugees. Infant formula and baby diapers are also needed, along with medical care for refugees with chronic conditions.
Najla playing the "Passport game" - a sort of warm up before starting this morning. We all got our Universal Passport, had it stamped and were guaranteed the same rights and freedom of movement. Credit. Hough/Caritas
By Najla Chahda, director of Caritas Lebanon Migrant Centre
Yesterday, I arrived at Beirut International Airport to come here to the conference in Senegal and following immigration control, I saw a woman sleeping on the floor with blood coming from her nose. I went to talk to her and found out that she was from Bangladesh and her employer had brought her there.
I got the airport doctor to come and he said she was haemorrhaging in her stomach – that’s why the blood was dripping from her nose. The woman gave me the employer’s number in Arabic but when I called him, he said he’d signed the release papers for her at the airport and she was no longer his responsibility.
This is the type of case that Caritas Lebanon deals with. Migrant women come to Lebanon and the employers pay around $50 for a false medical insurance to cover bureaucratic needs. Some of the migrant women believe they’ve got health coverage but they haven’t. Continue reading