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Irish aid agencies launch emergency appeal for Syria

By Susan Gately - 16 June, 2013

Trócaire and Concern have launched emergency appeals for Syria. Trócaire warns that the situation in the region threatens to reach catastrophic levels following the dramatic deterioration in the situation in Syria and neighbouring countries.

“Over eight million people are in urgent need of humanitarian aid,” said Maurice McQuillan, Trócaire’s Head of Humanitarian Aid. “Between January and April this year the number of displaced people within Syria more than doubled. Almost six million people have been forced to abandon their homes.”

Brid Kennedy, Regional Director with Concern  said  people had “taken shelter in makeshift buildings with little or no possessions. Public services have stopped – no electricity, no rubbish collection, no clean water”.

Ms Kennedy said that the combination of a lack of public services and warmer weather means that waterborne diseases are rapidly on the rise. “People are suffering with cholera, typhoid and other diseases. Parents who’ve saved their children from bombs and bullets now face the horrifying prospect of being forced to give them contaminated water that could easily kill them.”

Maurice McQuillan from Trócaire said he was conscious of the financial pressures people in Ireland were under, “but the scale of this crisis demands a response. Almost four times as many people have been left homeless by this conflict compared to the Haiti earthquake”.

Trócaire works with Caritas partners delivering emergency aid to Syrians along the Turkish and Lebanese borders.  Concern is appealing to the public to donate €30 to provide six families with water purification tablets.

According to the latest UN estimates, at least 93,000 people have been killed in Syria since the start of the conflict, with 30,000 of these occuring since last November. Meanwhile the number of internally displaced Syrians has more than doubled in the first six months of 2013.  Last week the United Nations launched the biggest appeal in the history of the organisation, pleading for $4.4bn to cope with the scale of the crisis this year.

Mr McQuillan from Trócaire said the crisis was threatening to “spiral out of control” unless the international community increased  its efforts to “deliver vital aid and help secure dialogue to end the suffering of civilians inside Syria”.

Donations to Trócaire may be made at www. trocaire.org/syria, and to Concern at www.concern.net.

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