United Church of Christ

UCC helps Middle East partners meet COVID-related needs

CEOSS.jpgUCC Disaster Ministries is helping to support international partners working in Syria, Egypt and Lebanon to meet needs created or worsened due to COVID-19.

These partners have long records of service among some of the world’s most vulnerable people – people already struggling to survive displacement, impoverishment and marginalization. UCC approved funding for the following projects before the tragic explosion in Beirut, which further complicated that city’s fight to contain COVID-19.

A total sum of $22,500 was shared among:

  • EGYPT: Provision of basic needs including awareness training, detergents, sanitizer and non-cash assistance for vulnerable communities in Egypt, by the Coptic Evangelical Organization for Social Services (CEOSS), a leading, nationally recognized Egyptian non-governmental organization.

    150 trained community outreach workers are distributing hygiene supplies and forming local working groups to serve in awareness-raising activities. Target audience is homebound senior and elderly people. CEOSS’s program also includes sanitization of villages and public places and distribution of food vouchers to impoverished people in the informal sector who lose their income due to the COVID-19 crisis. CEOSS interventions are taking place in the most negatively affected areas in Cairo, Minia, Sohag, Beni Sueif and Qalyoubia governorates.

  • SYRIA: Partner FMEEC (Fellowship of Middle East Evangelical Churches) is providing support to internally displaced Syrians with hygiene kits and infection prevention education to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and to reduce the risk for 2,400 families in Damascus, Aleppo, As-Sweida, Homs, Lattakia and Tartous governorates, all of which have high levels of need. Kits include soap, sanitizer and cleaning materials, and are being distributed through the FMEEC’s strong network of local church and community based partner staff and volunteers.

  • SYRIA: The Forum for Development, Culture & Dialogue is providing funds to assist with distribution of food, soap and detergents to fight against the spread of COVID-19 in Syria, with special concern for refugees, people and communities who already are affected by displacement, impoverishment and marginalization. The Forum is targeting families in areas where its Children Friendly Space project is operating: Damascus, Qalamoun and Hama.

  • LEBANON: The Forum for Development, Culture and Dialogue also is working in Lebanon to provide food parcels for two months, hygiene items and infection prevention awareness, and vegetable seeds to households of Syrian refugees and vulnerable host community members in Baalbek (150 households), Rural Beirut (150 households) and Douniye, Tripoli (150 households) in order to mitigate the growing starvation rates occurring as a result of the global and local economic crises exacerbated by COVID-19, and to prevent beneficiaries from needing to leave their homes to work, beg or shop for food in conditions unsafe from COVID-19.

  • SYRIA AND LEBANON: The Middle East Council of Churches is increasing its support for vulnerable people in Syria and Lebanon with food, medicines, livelihood and more. The goal is to help families meet their basic need for food and hygiene supplies to preserve their safety and well-being, and to insure adequate and timely access to health support for cancer patients and those who have chronic illnesses.

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