Emergency and reconstruction projects in the Middle East sponsored by Canadian Catholic agencies

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

accueil-moyen-orient-enIn response to needs for emergency assistance and reconstruction in the Middle East, three Canadian Catholic agencies are collecting funds for the suffering people of Iraq, Gaza and Syria: the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace (CCODP), CNEWA Canada, and Aid to the Church in Need. The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) and Canadian dioceses are encouraging Catholics to support the three agencies in their work. The CCCB has prepared a summary of related projects and activities in which the agencies are engaged. In addition, the CCCB is encouraging Canadian Catholics to use and share information on the Middle East that is regularly provided by Caritas Internationalis. This international network of over 160 national Catholic charities, including the Canadian agency Development and Peace, serves the poor and needy of all faiths throughout the world. It also provides up-to-date reports on the Middle East on its website

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1. Syria: Since the beginning of the Syrian crisis, contributions from around the world to the international offices of Aid to the Church in Need have provided donations of more than US $4.7 million in support of projects for the internally displaced in Syria as well as for Syrian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. More information is provided on the website of Aid to the Church in Need (Canada), in English at http://www.acn-aed-ca.org/1-anglais/eindex2.htm; in French at http://www.acn-aed-ca.org/2-francais/findex2.htm.

2. Gaza: Aid to the Church in Need has committed $73,500 to support victims of the Gaza war. This is to provide emergency medical aid for war victims currently receiving treatment in hospitals both within Gaza and outside; funding to purchase fuel for power generators serving medical facilities; emergency medical aid for the injured; the repair of Christian facilities, including the Catholic school of the Holy Family, as well as the reconstruction of homes belonging to Christians. More information is provided in the attached English news releases from Aid to the Church in Need.

Symbol-chretien-Irak3.  Iraq: Aid to the Church in Need has recently committed another $146,000 in emergency funding aid to support Iraqi Christians who had to flee to Erbil after attacks in Quaracosh and in the Nineveh plains, making a total of nearly $300,000 being provided to assist tens of thousands of Christians who have fled to Durhok and Erbi, including women and children. In the past two months, about 2000 Christian families have fled to Lebanon, and another 2000 families have found refuge in Turkey. Thousands left their homes with only the clothes on their backs, often wearing just their pyjamas. More information is provided in the attached English news releases from Aid to the Church in Need.




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1. Syria: Since its founding in 1967, Development and Peace has been responding to recurring humanitarian crises in the Middle East region. Over the last 10 years, its work has focused on supporting local and regional organizations in peace-building programs. Currently, Development and Peace is working with its partners in the Caritas network and with other civil-society organizations in the region to respond to the growing needs of the most vulnerable affected by the crisis in Syria. Development and Peace has distributed more than $13 million in assistance to Syrian refugees, including donations collected from Canadian Catholics as well as in international funding assistance from the Government of Canada. The Development and Peace response to the Syrian crisis involves projects in Syria, Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon, including food, fuel and other basic assistance, health-care assistance, emergency shelter, counselling services. More information is provided on the Development and Peace website, in English at http://www.devp.org/en/emergencies/syria; in French at http://www.devp.org/fr/emergencies/syria.

2. Gaza: Development and Peace has to date provided $50,000 in its work with Caritas Jerusalem to address humanitarian needs in Gaza. Together, they provide medical supplies and fuel to hospitals, and to Caritas Jerusalem’s health centre and mobile clinic. They have also been distributing blankets, food and hygiene kits to the most vulnerable, including displaced families, widows with children, families living under the poverty line and those where the main breadwinner has been injured and cannot work. One of the most critical needs is to provide psychological and social services to those in the worst-hit areas, especially children who have been traumatized by the violence they witnessed. More information is provided in English at http://www.devp.org/en/articles/development-and-peace-working-caritas-jerusalem-address-high-humanitarian-needs-gaza; in French at http://www.devp.org/fr/articles/developpement-et-paix-collabore-avec-caritas-jerusalem-afin-de-repondre-aux-enormes-besoins.

3. Iraq: Working with its other partners in the Caritas Internationalis network, Development and Peace has been monitoring the situation in Iraq closely so as to aid victims from the conflict. Despite the hostilities, Caritas Iraq is already distributing food and other basic necessities to 3,200 families. Development and Peace has currently allocated a preliminary $50,000 in emergency funds to support the work of its Caritas partners in Iraq and neighbouring countries, and is in regular contact with its partners as they scale up their response to this escalating humanitarian crisis. Development and Peace worked closely with Caritas Iraq after the last Gulf War in 2003, and has been working with other local organizations in the Middle East since 2000, supporting peacebuilding activities throughout the region. In addition to helping to fund humanitarian and emergency work in Iraq, it is also working to consolidate good governance, develop citizen participation, support the establishment of good relations between various religious groups, and promote the respect of human rights for all people. These initiatives are necessary factors for its citizens to live in peace, and are at the very heart of the current conflicts and issues in Iraq and the entire region. More information is provided in English at http://www.devp.org/en/blog/increasing-violence-iraq-creates-humanitarian-crisis; in French at http://www.devp.org/fr/blog/le-regain-de-violence-en-irak-provoque-une-crise-humanitaire.

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1. Syria: From 2012 to the end of 2013, efforts by CNEWA (Catholic Near East Welfare Association) in the United States and Canada raised more than $1.7 million, with donations also coming from Europe. While it is a Catholic agency with a Pontifical mission, CNEWA works closely not only with Catholic dioceses but also with the Orthodox Churches, in addition to providing aid to Muslims in need. Its efforts to assist Syrians who have been displaced in their own country, as well as Syrian refugees throughout the Middle East, include providing food, school supplies and clothing, as well as hygiene and health care. More information is provided in the attached English news releases from CNEWA Canada.

2. Gaza: CNEWA has launched an emergency appeal worldwide in order to raise $530,000 to aid traumatized families in Gaza. Its Palestine office is coordinating the activities of various Catholic and non-Catholic agencies on the ground. Relief activities by CNEWA in Gaza are concentrating on providing medicine, fuel, and medical treatments during this initial emergency phase. More information is provided in the attached English news releases from CNEWA Canada.

3. Iraq: CNEWA has launched a campaign to rush emergency assistance to more than 100,000 Christians fleeing their homes in northern Iraq. Priority will be given to supporting Bishops, clergy and religious who are putting their lives at risk by providing water, food, medicines and pastoral care to the displaced. More information is provided in the attached English news releases from CNEWA Canada.

August 13, 2014