Civil war since March 2011 in Syria has left 12.2 million Syrians in need of assistance. Approximately 8 million people have been forced from their homes inside the country, and more than 4 million are living in neighbouring countries as refugees.
Less than half the hospitals in Syria are currently functioning and water and electricity are not always available. More than Four million people have been forced out of Syria and are living as refugees in neighbouring countries. Approximately 1.2 million of these people are living in Lebanon where we support Caritas Lebanon's development and humanitarian aid programmes.
Thanks to your support and that of the New Zealand Aid Programme, we have provided more than $305,000 in assistance to those in need through Caritas Lebanon. They are providing healthcare, food, fuel, counselling, blankets, clothes and shelter for refugees from all religious backgrounds, as well as support for host communities under stress. More is needed.
Thousands of refugee families from the Middle East continue to make the perilous journey into Europe. Caritas supports the call of the Catholic Bishops to increase the number of refugees our country offers sanctuary to as a response to the crises in the Middle East.
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Pope Francis, Caritas workers and Church leaders in the region have called for peace and negotiations – not further arms and military intervention. ‘The only road to peace is dialogue. War will not take us anywhere,’ says the President of Caritas Syria and Chaldean Catholic Bishop of Aleppo, Antoine Audo.
Church leaders in New Zealand, including Cardinal John Dew, recently released a statement to mark four years since the Syrian crisis began.
Sheltering refugees in Syria - a New Zealander's insight