Syria in the News

February 28, 2012

Syrian families caught up in political crisis receive humanitarian aid from United Church of Christ supported partners.

Situation

The ongoing political crisis in Syria has caused tens of thousands to be caught in the crossfire between government and opposition forces. The result? Thousands of Syrians have fled their homes, choosing to escape the violence. Many have migrated to neighboring countries, and many are arriving to more stable areas of Syria.

Rough estimates indicate that large numbers of internally displaced persons are arriving into the capital of Damascus from high-conflict areas throughout the country. Specific numbers of the displaced are not available, but entire neighborhoods and villages have reportedly been deserted.

The deteriorating economic conditions led by the 11-month conflict and sanctions imposed on Syria have created high levels of unemployment and inflation. Since March 2011, the Syrian pound has depreciated against the U.S. dollar by nearly 70 percent, significantly affecting ordinary Syrians who now find it difficult to pay for food, rent and fuel. The rise in prices is driving lower-income Syrians more deeply into poverty.

In short, the losses in both income and in the value of currency; the rise of unemployment; staggering inflation; and the lack of security have created a pressing humanitarian situation among Syrians. The danger posed to Syrian children by the current unrest is compromising their well-being and rights to protection and development. The emergency is also undermining primary healthcare and jeopardizing child nutrition and health.

UCC/CWS response:

The United Church of Christ is supporting the emergency response of CWS and International Orthodox Christian Charities, which has a long track record in responding to humanitarian emergencies in the Middle East, particularly to the needs of the displaced, and has utilized CWS material goods such as blankets and health kits.  In addition, The Forum for Development, Culture and Dialogue, one of our Middle East regional partner organizations based in Lebanon, received emergency OGHS funds to provide crucial humanitarian assistance to needy families engulfed in the Syrian political crisis.

CWS Gift of the Heart Baby, Hygiene and School kits, prepared by UCC members and others, valued in excess of $300,000 are on their way to the region.

One Great Hour of Sharing emergency funds are supporting immediate needs that include rent assistance; fuel; livelihoods; and proper food; as well as non-food items such as bedding and other household items, clothing and psycho-social assistance.

The UCC supported response will be based throughout the Middle East region in countries where the displaced are now living.

Because of constantly changing circumstances, the number of beneficiaries is in flux. At this point, CWS and FDCD can report that at least 30,000 beneficiaries will be assisted and that the number could increase to as many as 75,000 beneficiaries, given present humanitarian conditions.

HOW YOU CAN HELP

1. Pray for the people of Syria and all those striving to provide humanitarian assistance.

2. To assist people impacted by this and other crisis, please make a gift payable to your congregation marked for “International Emergency” with the request it 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 “International Emergency”  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.

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