Jean and I are the CAFOD focal points for Christ The King. We try to promote CAFOD’s role within the parish, and an important part of this is providing information that may be useful or helpful to any who wish to find out about CAFOD’s work. We will use this spot on the parish web-site to say a bit more about events or campaigns, or meetings that we have attended, and try to give a picture that’s fuller than can be put in the bulletin or pinned to the noticeboard. We hope you find it interesting and, maybe, useful. We’ll update it weekly or fortnightly and would welcome any thoughts or questions you may have in response – our number is 419439. Mark Wallis

CAFOD's response to coronavirus in Syria

CAFOD’s local partners in Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan are responding to the Syria Crisis and to the effects of coronavirus.

Millions of homeless Syrians don't have a safe place to live, enough to eat or drink, or a way to earn a living for their families. Now they face the new threat of coronavirus when many cannot socially distance, access healthcare, or even find clean water.

The civil war in Syria has lasted over nine years. The conflict is perhaps the worst humanitarian crisis of our time, and has killed over 500,000 people. An estimated 6.2 million Syrians have been made homeless inside the country, and 11.7 million people in Syria need urgent humanitarian aid – food, water and shelter.

Over 5.6 million Syrians have fled to neighbouring countries. Lebanon and Jordan host the highest number of refugees per capita in the world. Lebanon hosts around 1.5 million refugees currently, meaning that one person in every four in Lebanon is a refugee.

The situation in the region was already bad before coronavirus hit, and the pandemic has now made things worse. Attacks and bombardments in northern Syria have become much worse in the last year. Hundreds of civilians are reported to have been injured or killed, and vital services, including hospitals and clinics, have been destroyed. Many have fled their homes and are living in temporary camps.

Coronavirus has now been reported in camps in northern Syria. Our local partners on the ground are reporting urgent concerns about the risks of the virus spreading, as vulnerable people are unable to take the basic measures to protect themselves.

Mustafa, 28, a frontline worker supported by CAFOD, lives in a camp outside Idlib with displaced people. He said:

“My heart is beating so hard; we are expecting an explosion of coronavirus in the camps. The coming days are really critical for us. Doctors are preparing for the spread of the virus. People live in large overcrowded settlements in tents with maybe 12 people and no access to clean water. It will be a catastrophe.”

CAFOD is supporting a partner organisation to respond to coronavirus in the camps in north-west Syria. It is an area where few other agencies are currently operating due to the situation.

Your support is helping to: 

  • Build new toilets, handwashing sinks and a laundry tub at 15 unregistered camps in north-west Syria, for families who have fled the conflict. 
  • Give out PPE, soap and period packs to vulnerable families, along with advice on how they can protect themselves from coronavirus.

If you’d like to support CAFOD’s coronavirus appeal, see the following page on the website:

https://cafod.org.uk/Give/Donate-to-Emergencies/Coronavirus-appeal

If you’d like to call on the Prime Minister to ensure that the poorest and most vulnerable are at the forefront of the UK’s international efforts to combat the virus, see CAFOD’s petition:

https://e-activist.com/page/59334/petition/1