Renewed Support for Crisis in Syria

Episcopal Relief & Development Web StatementAugust 19, 2014

Episcopal Relief & Development has renewed its support of the Fellowship of Middle East Evangelical Churches’ (FMEEC) relief efforts in Syria.

FMEEC aims to reach 500 families in towns west of Homs – the epicenter of Syria’s civil war – including Mashta el Helu, Kafroun, Wadi Nasara, and Tartous.

“The project will provide a three-month distribution of much needed food items and rent subsidies to help mainly displaced women, children and elderly cope with the severely deteriorating economic conditions, and to aid in restoring dignity of life,” FMEEC stated.

In addition to the immediate challenges of living in a conflict zone, individuals and families are facing extreme inflation and economic depression due to the collapse of regional commerce and devaluation of the local currency.  Factories have closed, causing job losses and shortages of basic goods, and fuel prices have soared, further hampering trade.

Although some families have managed to remain in their homes despite the conflict, many have been forced to relocate, leaving behind their homes and livelihoods and uncertain when they may be able to return.  In addition to securing sufficient food and other necessities, another major challenge is finding and paying for lodging with limited or no income.  FMEEC is providing food vouchers and rent assistance through local churches to assist those most vulnerable, particularly elderly people, widows and families with children.

UN OCHA estimates that approximately 10.8 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance due to the ongoing conflict in Syria, including 6.45 million internally displaced people.  An additional 2.9 million people have fled the country as refugees. 

The most recent death toll from the conflict in Syria exceeds 100,000 people, according to the UN, though the agency reportedly stopped updating this information in July 2014 due to a dwindling of credible sources.  Advocacy groups claim the number exceeds 160,000.  Estimates of the number of homes destroyed range from 700,000 to 1.2 million.

In September 2013, Episcopal Relief & Development supported FMEEC’s relief efforts around Homs, which at that time similarly helped to serve over 100 households with food, non-food items and/or housing vouchers.  In addition, support was also provided to the Holy Land Institute for the Deaf’s assistance to Syrians with hearing, vision, physical or cognitive disabilities in the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan.

The Fellowship of the Middle East Evangelical Churches is an association of the Evangelical (Protestant) churches of the Middle East, of which the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East/Diocese of Jerusalem is a member.

Please continue to pray for those impacted by the conflict in Syria, and for those seeking to provide critical assistance and build foundations for peace.

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