Public donations to the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) Syria Crisis Appeal have now reached £5 million. CAFOD is one of the 14 leading UK charities which make up the DEC, and we will be one of those using the funds in Syria and in neighbouring countries.
Every day, thousands of Syrians who can escape the violence are streaming across into Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan. Rahaf is one of more than a million people who have fled Syria. She told the story of her escape to CAFOD partners in Jordan:
“We had a normal life. We went to university. We had friends. We were even a little spoiled by our parents. And then suddenly we had nothing. We were cold, hungry and alone…. My father received a phone call saying he should leave or he would be killed. We left the house straight away, without time to pack. We learned that our house was burned down later. We fled along back roads and through fields to avoid checkpoints. We walked across the border.”
As the fighting intensifies and the number of people fleeing their homes and the country continues to increase, fundraising will continue for the DEC Syria Crisis Appeal. There are huge and urgent unmet needs, both in Syria and the surrounding countries, with civilians continuing to bear the brunt of the conflict.
Mike Noyes, CAFOD’s Head of Humanitarian Programmes, is in Lebanon and has met with Syrian aid workers from one of our church partners. They have come out of Damascus to discuss with CAFOD how we can target our support to people made homeless by the fighting.
Mike Noyes said: “The generosity of CAFOD supporters and the donations of the British public to the DEC Syria Crisis Appeal mean that we are able to reassure our church partners inside Syria that we will be with them in their struggle to provide relief to the suffering.
“This could include supporting the treatment of those with chronic diseases who can no longer find the medicines they need in pharmacies, providing hygiene kits and nappies to vulnerable mothers with small children, or providing vouchers to buy food.
“The news of more intensified fighting inside Syria is making the delivery of aid very difficult but not impossible for our partners. They are able to channel humanitarian aid to where it is needed most in both rebel-held and government-held communities.”
Bishop Audo, the President of Caritas Syria, recently came out of Aleppo to attend a meeting on the crisis in Rome. He explained how Syrians in Aleppo are supporting each other, and told the story of five priests working with 100 Muslim families from the outskirts of Aleppo, currently taking refuge in two schools. With support from the Maronite Archbishop Youssef Abi-Aad of Aleppo, assistance to the families at the schools has continued.
More than three million people have been forced to leave their homes by fighting in Syria. Two million have fled to other parts of the conflict-torn country. A further one million have escaped across the border to seek safety in neighbouring countries.
The number of refugees fleeing the country has increased from 1,000 a day at the beginning of the year to more than 8,000 a day.
To make a donation to CAFOD’s Syria Crisis appeal visit cafod.org.uk/syriacrisis or call 0500 85 88 85. You can also send a cheque payable to CAFOD to FREEPOST RSHJ-KJBY-YXLT Syria Crisis Appeal, CAFOD, Romero House, 55 Westminster Bridge Road, London SE1 7JB
To donate to the DEC Syria Crisis Appeal, visit dec.org.uk, call the 24 hour hotline on 0370 60 60 900, donate over the counter at any high street bank or post office, or send a cheque payable to ‘DEC’ to PO Box 999, London EC3A 3AA. You can also donate £5 by texting the word SUPPORT to 70000. The full £5 will go to the DEC Syria Crisis Appeal. Donors must be 16 years or over and have bill payers permission. Texts are free and donations will be added to the bill.