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2015 Middle East Report

17 Feb 2016 – Your Donations in Action

Catholic Near East Welfare Association (CNEWA) raised more than $11 million for emergency response initiatives in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Jordan from August 2014 to September 2015.

Funds, which continue to be deployed at present, were collected in Canada, Europe and the United States — with about $1 million from Canadian donors. Below are highlights outlining how these donations were distributed.

The political conflicts in Syria since 2011 and in Iraq since 2003 have created a massive humanitarian crisis affecting millions of innocent families. These conflicts have been heightened by the rise of extremist groups, such as ISIS, which inflame the region even more.

Present in the Middle East for the last 90 years, CNEWA has responded swiftly to these crises by giving special attention to the fragile Christian populations, which are subjected to persecution due to their faith. The very survival of these Christians is at risk.

In Iraq, the number of Christians plummeted from one million in 2003 to fewer than 200,000 today, with half of them displaced because of ISIS. In 2011, more than two million Christians lived in Syria, but today fewer than 1.3 million remain, with half a million internally displaced. Hundreds are still held captive by ISIS in northern Syria.

CNEWA works through the Catholic Eastern churches, utilizing their on-the-ground network of priests, religious and lay professionals to meet the needs of those most in need, especially those who are marginalized, forgotten or ignored.

As millions flee the violence in Iraq and Syria, CNEWA reaches out to those who fear the refugee camps and the potential retribution for registering with the United Nations for assistance. Thus, they are denied the aid that relief organizations make available in the camps. Many of these men, women and children are persecuted minorities, often Christians who rely solely on the local churches for support.

Therefore, most of CNEWA’s emergency aid (94 per cent) has been deployed to support persecuted Christians. Yet, emergency assistance has also assisted Yazidi and Shi’ite and Sunni Muslims refugees in Syria, Iraqi Kurdistan, Jordan and Lebanon.

In good times and bad, CNEWA’s strength has been to work with the local churches. These bishops, priests, religious sisters and lay people have shown great courage over the past years. Many have been abducted and even killed while ministering to others — becoming the new martyrs.

Here is a brief summary of CNEWA’s humanitarian aid in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Jordan.

CNEWA has collected $2,754,183 (USD) for its emergency programs in Syria.

Healthcare: CNEWA developed a program to provide health care to some 5,500 patients in nine different locations.

Education: CNEWA has facilitated the enrollment of some 5,000 displaced students through provision of school kits and daily breakfasts; support extends to university students by providing them the cost of transportation from their villages to nearby universities.

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