An Update on Syria
August 16, 2012
Humanitarian Need Grows For Syrian
Families Caught In New Surge Of Violence
A Syrian woman carries her daughter as their family seeks refuge in a safer part of Syria. As more families are forced from their homes in neighborhoods consumed by growing violence, IOCC and Syrian relief partners are working together to locate displaced Syrian families and provide them with urgently needed food, portable stoves and blankets. REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra
Baltimore, MD (IOCC) — Syrians who received more than a million refugees fleeing from conflict in Iraq now face the same fate as more than one and a half million Syrians seek refuge from the spreading violence in their own country. International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) has redoubled its efforts to provide food and essential items – blankets, stoves and hygiene supplies – to the rapidly growing number of displaced and vulnerable Syrian families. IOCC aid is reaching areas in and around Homs, the epicenter of the uprising that began 16 months ago, and other regions of the country.
"There is a palpable sense of urgency and people are worried about the growing violence throughout the country," said Mark Ohanian, IOCC director of programs, who just returned from Damascus where he met with staff and relief partners. IOCC is working closely with the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and all The East and Syrian relief partner, Al Nada Association, in an effort to reach as many people as it can and to determine what the most immediate needs are for the growing number of displaced and vulnerable families.
"The situation remains unstable and we know that there are at least a million and a half people within the country who are in need of essential food and other assistance including those who have been displaced and others who have been trapped in their homes. Despite the humanitarian efforts underway, hundreds of thousands of people require immediate food assistance in order to survive."
Efforts by IOCC and its partners to safely distribute relief items to Syrian families is growing more challenging each day as fighting spreads from Homs to the capital city of Damascus. Despite the unrest in Damascus, Ohanian reported that the IOCC aid is still reaching affected families and that more than 123,000 people have been assisted. "We are deeply concerned for the thousands of Syrian families who have been forced to flee their homes and the ongoing assistance that will be required to help meet their basic food and hygiene needs," said Ohanian. "In addition to those who have been displaced in Syria, there has been a recent surge in the number of people escaping to neighboring countries, especially to Lebanon and Jordan where IOCC is also working to provide assistance." The United Nations reports more than 129,000 people have formally registered as refugees in neighboring countries, while other reports put the number closer to 200,000 people who have fled Syria.
For more information, read the newly released report from our other partners in Syria.
How you can help.
1. Pray for the people of Syria and for all who are living in terror and forced to flee from their homes because of unsafe situations.
2. Read the Newly Released Report that descibes in detail the situation and the need.
3. Please make a gift payable to your congregation marked for “International Emergency - Syria” with the request it be sent through your Conference office on to Wider Church Ministries.
Send gifts, made out to United Church of Christ and marked in the memo portion “International Emergency - Syria” to: United Church of Christ, Financial Services, 700 Prospect Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44115.
Make a secure online donation to the International Disaster Relief fund.