$1.3 Million Committed to Help Displaced Families in Syria
Food to be distributed to 5,000 households for the next five months
WINNIPEG, MB — Five thousand families displaced by fighting in Syria will receive food through a response from Canadian Foodgrains Bank.
The $1.3 million response, lead by Foodgrains Bank member Mennonite Central Committee, will supply monthly food baskets of rice, bulgur wheat, pasta, oil, lentils, tea, sugar, salt and canned meat for five months for displaced people in the Qalamoun area of Syria. The first food distribution is slated for the beginning of December.
The project is being implemented by two MCC partner organizations—one in Syria that cannot be named due to security reasons, and one in Lebanon named Forum for Development, Culture and Dialogue (FDCD).
“The communities in this area are known for welcoming anyone in need,” says Chris Ewert, who is coordinating the response for MCC.
“This population of about 35,000 people is sharing their homes and resources with more than 90,000 people who have been uprooted from their homes as a result of violence,” he says, adding that “even after 19 months, they continue to refer to new arrivals not as strangers, but as guests.”
Families arrive with little cash, few assets and increasingly limited opportunities for jobs. They live in cramped conditions with host families or public buildings, such as schools and clinics.
“As the conflict continues and the daily arrivals of displaced families escalate, the resources of host families have been severely depleted,” says Ewert.
The main source of help for many in this area is MCC’s partner organization that has assisted people experiencing poverty for more than 50 years. Their work is supported mainly through charitable gifts of individuals.
This past year, the organization has been partnering with FDCD, a long-standing MCC partner organization in Lebanon that promotes peacebuilding in the Middle East and has experience in large-scale project management.
The number of people in the Qalamoun area needing food assistance is now estimated at 90,000; through this response, 25,000 of those most vulnerable will have these needs met for the next five months.
“This food assistance is critical to not only carry vulnerable families through the particularly difficult winter months ahead, but also provide some respite to a host community that has given to the point of sacrifice,” says Ewert.
The response is made possible through donations to MCC's account in the Foodgrains Bank and financial support from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).