Report on Syrian Aid and Needs from Patriarchate of Antioch Dept. of Ecumenical Relations and Development
Samer Laham, Director of the Department of Ecumenical Relations and Development (DERD) of the Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East, has released the latest report on ongoing relief work in Syria, and asks for continued prayers for all Syrian people.
The full report is available in PDF format. The report opens:
"The humanitarian situation within Syria continues to deteriorate as the violence spreads and displacement continues. According to SARC estimates, some 2.5 – 3 million people are in need of support, of which children represent a substantial proportion. By the end of September, the Syrian Government officially reported that the number of displaced persons was then more than 3 million. In response to meet the increasing needs at different levels DERD continues its historic and strategic partnership with International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC). Through this tight partnership and direct assistance and support of IOCC, DERD has been able to assist thousands of displaced Syrians, as well as those affected by the crisis."
The report continues with an extensive accounting of aid and relief efforts. From the section on Challenges:
"Heavy fighting has reached Damascus with no sign of relenting. Bomb blasts, explosions, gun shots, and warplanes are constant and common sounds throughout Damascus. Everyone is affected. Bakeries have run out of bread and prices for many staples such as eggs, flour, and vegetables have soared. Heating and cooking fuel is expensive and rare with people waiting in line for hours to receive their ration. This becomes exceptionally difficult for Damascene families who rely on fuel to heat their homes during these cold winter months.
"Several explosions occurred recently in Jaramana, an area where many of IOCC/DERD staff reside, resulting in dozens of deaths and countless injured. No staff has been physically injured, but they are feeling the stress of living under constant threat. When bombings in Jaramana occur, roads to work are often closed and phone and communications are cut. This makes planning for distributions unreliable and difficult."
"To close, and on behalf of all the DERD team and the Patriarchate, we thank all those who contributed financially to make our program an achievable one. We also like to thank IOCC and all our partners for the help and assistance. Needless to say that without your backing we would not have been able to bring hope to many hopeless people. Your continuous support is a must to continue fulfilling our mission in midst of the turmoil that the country is passing through for nearly 2 years."