Conflict in Syria ignites UCC Appeal

November 23, 2012


Today the United Church of Christ issued a $100,000 emergency relief appeal for communities and individuals impacted by the escalating violence in Syria.

Since the onset of the conflict in March, 2011, the UCC has supported the efforts of our partners across the region to respond to the crisis and the growing number of displaced people. Emergency food packages, hygiene kits, bedding, and portable stoves have been distributed and psychosocial support and health care is being provided. Warm clothing and activities for children are now being organized in the Za’atri refugee camp in Jordan.

SITUATION

The situation in Syria worsens by the day as Syrian government and opposition forces attack one another.
Humanitarian needs continue to escalate as the violence spreads and deepens. Ordinary civilians – men, women and children – are the primary victims of the violence. An ever growing number of people are displaced, many for the second or third time. The United Nations estimates 1.2 million people are internally displaced within Syria, People also continue to flee across the border to neighboring countries. According to United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the number of Syrian refugees in Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey could increase from the October 1 figure of more than 300,000 to a total of 710,000 people by the end of this year.
With the winter season approaching, the number of people in need of assistance is likely to rise. Already the night temperatures are starting to fall significantly. Tens of thousands of IDPs (internally displaced persons) are staying temporarily in buildings that are completely unsuitable for the cold of winter. Loss of livelihoods due to insecurity and market disruptions negatively impact purchasing power and leave more people without access to basic essentials, electricity, heating or fuel.
Children are experiencing and witnessing appalling violations. Boys and girls are routinely targeted, maimed and killed. Thousands of children have been injured or forced to leave their homes. In a report published in September, Save the Children shares the testimonies of children who survived detention, torture and the terror of indiscriminate violence. Equally disturbing narratives of the impact of violence on Syrian children have been presented in recent reports by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. The use of heavy weaponry, including air strikes in densely populated areas creates fear and trauma, especially among young children.
UCC responds
The UCC is providing support for food, shelter, warm clothing and trauma care through the following partners:
Fellowship of Middle East Evangelical Churches; Syria
Forum for Development, Culture and Dialogue; Syria
Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and all the East; Syria
International Orthodox Christian Charities; Syria, Lebanon, Jordan
Middle East Council of Churches/Orthodox Churches of Jordan; Za’atri refugee camp
Syriac Orthodox Archbishopric of Mardin; Turkey
As the crisis unfolds new avenues of response are likely to open, including assistance with livelihood restoration.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
1. Pray for the people and communities across the Middle East region impacted by the violence in Syria. 
2. To assist people impacted by this disaster, please make a gift payable to your congregation marked for “Syria Humanitarian Relief” with the request they be sent through your Conference office on to Wider Church Ministries. 
OR
 
Send gifts, made out to United Church of Christ and marked in the memo portion “Syria Humanitarian Relief” to United Church of Christ; Financial Services; 700 Prospect Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44115.
OR 
Make a secure online donation to the International Disaster Relief fund. Please note “Syria Humanitarian Relief” in the Comments Box. 
Thank you for your compassion and support.
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CONTACT INFO



Ms. Phyllis Y. Richards
Program Associate
700 Prospect Ave.
Cleveland,Ohio 44115
216-736-3215
richardp@ucc.org