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Situation Report update
PDA responds to the deepening humanitarian crisis in Syria. Increased fighting in the cities of Aleppo and Damascus has led to the additional displacement of Syrian families.
The humanitarian crisis in Syria has deepened within the last few weeks. Syria’s most populous cities, Aleppo and Damascus, have seen increased fighting and tens of thousands of additional people have become displaced. The Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) estimates that approximately 1.5 million people have been displaced since the beginning of the Syria crisis in March 2011 — a period when political uprisings and social upheavals commonly known as the “Arab Spring” affected several countries in the region.
Earlier this year and at the recent 220th General Assembly, PC (USA) issued a call to prayer for the people of Syria. Presbyterian Disaster Assistance provided One Great Hour of Sharing funds to the National Evangelical (Presbyterian) Synod of Syria and Lebanon so that a Christian witness could be shown to some of the families suffering the most for the crisis. This week, PDA received a letter requesting assistance for the increased needs.
The Reverend Fadi Dagher, the general secretary of the National Evangelical (Presbyterian) Synod of Syria and Lebanon, urged the PC(USA) at the 220th General Assembly to advocate with our government to support a non-violent solution to the civil war in Syria and the Assembly responded to Commissioners’ Resolution [15-12] to stand with the Evangelical Synod of Syria and Lebanon, our partner church, and other churches who are facing unprecedented challenges now and are attempting to respond through new forms of witness.
Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) will continue to support our mission partner the National Evangelical (Presbyterian) Synod of Syria and Lebanon. They have used funds previously provided to meet the immediate needs of families in Homs. Last spring, Homs was the area most severely impacted.
In addition, PDA is working with our ecumenical ACT alliance partner, International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) to help meet the needs of displaced families both within and outside of Syria.
Most of the displaced families left their homes believing they would be able to return within a short period of time. However, as their period of displacement became extended, their resources quickly disappeared. IOCC is helping to meet the needs identified as most pressing. These include access to sufficient food, hygiene items, clothing, household goods and access to appropriately equipped medical care. Nutrition information and psychosocial care have also been identified as needs.
At this difficult and uncertain time, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance asks that you stand in the GAP for the people of Syria.
Please generously share your financial blessings by designating gifts to DR000081 – Middle East. You can write Syria of the reference line to further let us know your specific intent.
The action taken at the 220th General Assembly calls for advocacy urging the U.S. government
- to support a mediated process of cessation of violence by all perpetrators, including the Assad regime and armed opposition groups,
- to call for all outside parties to cease all forms of intervention in Syria,
- to support a strong and necessary role for the United Nations, possibly including observers and peacekeeping forces, and
- to refrain from military intervention in Syria.”
Almighty God, creator of the world and the nations, we bring before you all those caught up in the conflict in Syria. We pray for families who have been forced to flee their homes; keep them safe on their travels and arrival in foreign lands. We pray for those who are experiencing the pain of personal loss and for families who are mourning the loss of loved ones.
Guide the nation of Syria into the way of justice and truth, and establish among them that peace which is the fruit of righteousness, that they may become the kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen. Read the August call to prayer for Syria.