Syrian Refugees In Urgent Need Of Humanitarian Assistance

Syrian crisis

People in need of humanitarian assistance.

CARITAS Australia, part of Caritas Internationalis one of the world’s largest humanitarian networks, has called for more to be done to contain the growing humanitarian crisis in Syria and neighbouring countries.

Two years of conflict in Syria has caused more than 70,000 deaths and four million people are now in need of urgent humanitarian assistance, including 2.5 million people within Syria who are now internally displaced. Just last week, the UNHCR announced that the number of Syrians registered or receiving assistance as refugees in neighbouring countries had surpassed 1 million.

The Caritas network including Caritas Lebanon, Caritas Jordan and Caritas Turkey have a long established presence in the region.

In response to the crisis, the Caritas network is providing emergency humanitarian assistance, shelter, medical care, food, water and sanitation, and psychosocial support to many Syrian refugees in Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey.

Caritas Australia CEO Jack de Groot said the need for humanitarian aid was growing by the day.

“Aid agencies like Caritas are struggling to keep pace with the need on the ground, ” Mr de Groot said.

“In Lebanon, our Caritas partner has been working tirelessly to provide clothing, blankets, and tarpaulins for thousands of Syrian families and individuals who have fled the fighting,” Mr de Groot said.

“But there are many tensions in these host countries and the situation for refugees is continuing to deteriorate.”

With an estimated 78% of refugees in Lebanon being women and children, Mr de Groot said their needs should continue to be prioritised.

“In terms of challenges, education and health assistance are among the most pressing needs, as many Syrian children are still not attending school and many Syrian elderly are suffering from chronic diseases,” Mr de Groot said.

In January 2013, Pope Benedict XVI made impassioned pleas for governments to help the people of Syria. He called for a ceasefire to the fighting stating, civil and political authorities had a “grave responsibility” to work for peace in Syria which had been “torn apart by endless slaughter and the scene of dreadful suffering among its civilian population.

Media contact: Nicole Clements – 0408 869 833 or Nicolec@caritas.org.au

Please note: Images and video footage of the work of Caritas in Syria are available

Find out more about the Caritas’ support for Syria on the Caritas website, www.caritas.org.au/syria-crisis.

More information

  • Caritas Lebanon: 336,000 Syrians are receiving protection and assistance in Lebanon through the efforts of the government, UN and NGO partners like Caritas. There are no refugee camps in Lebanon therefore the support that Caritas provides to more than 12,000 families and almost 60,000 individuals who stay with host families or rent accommodation is invaluable. Their Emergency Appeal, issued through Caritas Internationalis, is being supported by Caritas Australia. Caritas Lebanon provides food assistance, non-food items such as blankets and hygiene kits, and shelter. They are also providing mental and physical health assistance, water and sanitation, protection, and responding to violence against women.
  • Caritas Jordan: There  are an estimated 420,000 Syrians in Jordan. Urban refugees outnumber camp based refugees by a ratio of 2.7 to 1. These refugees are particularly vulnerable as most refugee assistance is targeted to those in camps. Caritas Jordan is providing support to more than 75,000 individuals (15,000 families) outside the camps. Caritas Australia is supporting their Emergency Appeal which provides funds for food, non-food items, medical services and protection. In addition Caritas Jordan supports education activities.
  • Caritas Turkey: It is estimated that there are around 300,000 Syrian refugees in Turkey. Carita Turkey has issued  an Emergency Appeal, which is being supported by Caritas Australia. Through this appeal, families have been provided with food and hygiene items, which have helped them through the winter, by providing items such as blankets and heaters. Other services being provided by Caritas in Turkey include medical assistance and counselling.
  • Caritas Syria: There is a Caritas presence in Syria, and a national headquarters is currently being established. Caritas Syria operates out of six regions in the country, many of these regions are those areas that have been badly affected by the recent conflict. Where possible, Caritas Syria is responding to the humanitarian needs of those who request support in the form of food and non-food items. During the winter, Caritas Syria launched an emergency appeal to help alleviate problems associated with extreme temperatures.