Syria is at the center of the world's most devastating humanitarian emergency. Once a vibrant hub of Middle Eastern culture and history, Syria is besieged by internal conflict that has uprooted millions of innocent families. Of those, an estimated 2 million Syrians have fled across the border into Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Egypt. More than 75% of Syrian refugees are women and children.
Catholic Relief Services is providing more than 140,000 Syrian refugees across the region with urgent medical assistance, food, shelter, living supplies, hygiene, counseling and education for children.
Our response is comprehensive: to address people's needs to survive and live in dignity. Medical care helps fix bullet wounds, addresses the ongoing needs of pregnant women and children, and treats chronic illnesses in elderly people. Soap and water purifiers help families stay clean and prevent the spread of disease. Vouchers allow parents to buy food and other supplies in the local markets. And trauma counseling and education for children help them return to a semblance of normalcy.
We Need Your Help
Our partners are working around the clock to expand their services to meet the growing number of refugees arriving in desperate conditions. Your support is vital.
With your help, we can provide:
- Emergency household supplies
- Urgent medical assistance
- Shelter support
- Hygiene and sanitation services
- Children's education, support and trauma counseling
We have a special role to play in this crisis, which is taking place in the cradle of Christianity—a place where the Catholic Church and welfare agencies have a long history of helping people in need, regardless of religious affiliation. Today, for the thousands of Syrian families who are living in peril, your help is needed more than ever.
Background on This Crisis
Since its inception in March 2011, the Syrian crisis has expanded into a nationwide civil war that has claimed more than 100,000 lives and left millions homeless. Prior to 2011, Syria was largely peaceful, with a stable economy and diverse cultural and religious traditions that coexisted peacefully. Syrians now face widespread death and destruction. Millions have had to flee their homes for refuge in relatively calm regions or neighboring countries.
In addition to the fatalities, tens of thousands of Syrians are wounded, and many others are unaccounted for. Entire towns have been demolished, along with ancient cultural treasures; businesses and schools have closed; and factories, farms and other businesses have closed. Because the fighting is so unpredictable, families—particularly women and children—move from place to place with little time to pack belongings.
The United Nations estimates that the number of refugees who have fled Syria to the relative safety of Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Egypt has reached 2 million. Refugees either live in camps run by the United Nations or host governments, or in urban settings.
Most refugees live outside camps. Since December 2012, the number of such "urban refugees" has more than doubled, with multiple families crowded into small apartments. To survive, these refugees depend on savings, limited work opportunities and the generosity of the host population. Many have experienced trauma, violence and the loss of loved ones in Syria, yet few have received adequate assistance and almost none have received any psychological care.