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Call for Christians to give and pray for Syria   17/09/2013

By: Anglican Overseas Aid
Tuesday, 17 September 2013
The civil war raging in Syria has caused one of the largest humanitarian crisis the world has ever known, with more people in need of assistance than after the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami.

In response, Anglican Overseas Aid has launched the ‘Syria in Crisis Appeal’ to help affected people across the region.

“The scale of the crisis is hard to fathom,” said Anglican Overseas Aid’s Chief Executive, the Reverend Bob Mitchell. 

“Syria has a population of 22 million people – just like Australia. The numbers are constantly growing, but the latest figures show that more than one-third of them – about 7 million people – need urgent humanitarian assistance. More than 4 million people are displaced within Syria itself, and almost 2 million refugees are hosted by nearby countries. 

“The United Nations says that more than half of those in refugee camps are children. All of them are in urgent need of help with food, water, shelter and more.”

The situation in Syria is likely to get worse as the war enters its third year. Winter is approaching, there is strong evidence that chemical weapons have been used, and despite attempts at a diplomatic resolution to the use of those weapons, the possibility of the United States launching air strikes still looms large. 

“We’re calling on Christians to dig deep to help the people of Syria,” said Mr Mitchell. “But we also ask the Christian community to be faithful in prayer for the people of Syria and that a peaceful solution will be found.

“This civil war is complex and will not end soon, but one thing is for certain – millions of innocent people within Syria and in refugee camps in countries such as Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, Turkey and countries in North Africa are in urgent need of our help.

“Anglican Overseas Aid is a member of the ACT Alliance, a global coalition of more than 130 churches and affiliated organisations working in 140 countries on development and emergency response issues,” said Mr Mitchell. 

“ACT Alliance members have been responding since the crisis began, helping families inside Syria as well as refugees and host communities in Lebanon and Jordan. 

“Donations to Anglican Overseas Aid’s ‘Syria in Crisis Appeal’ will be directed through the ACT Alliance to International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC), who will reach more than 100,000 people in urgent need across Syria, including in some of the most severely affected areas.”

The IOCC’s work includes the provision of emergency food and water, hygiene kits, education on disease prevention, hygiene and safe use of water, distribution of water filters, provision of bedding and other physical needs, helping people to cope with the emotional stress of the situation (psychosocial support), helping children to continue their education, and providing cash-for-work opportunities.

With escalating calls from abroad for armed intervention, the ACT Alliance is insisting that all parties need to urgently negotiate a peaceful solution to the conflict, arguing that further military engagement will only worsen the situation and limit the access of humanitarian organisations to civilians caught up in the conflict.

“This is the only way to achieve sustainable peace,” said ACT Alliance General Secretary John Nduna. “With the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the region, all actors need to use their authority to bring parties to the negotiating table to come up with a peaceful solution.”


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