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Middle Eastern hotspot

HEKS/EPER provides emergency aid for refugees and internally displaced people

Refugee crisis in the Middle East

Peace continues to elude the Middle East. The entry of Turkish troops into neighbouring Syria in early October sent tens of thousands of people fleeing to safer areas. The situation is rather confusing at present. Supported by shifting alliances of militias and rebel groups, Syrian and Turkish troops are fighting for territorial control along the Syrian-Turkish border. And there is now the added threat that current political tensions in Lebanon could escalate. Once again, it is the civilian population who are suffering most from the fighting. HEKS/EPER is therefore providing additional emergency aid totalling 150,000 francs throughout Syria and, if necessary, in Lebanon as well.

For almost nine years now, war has been raging with unrelenting ferocity in Syria and has already claimed thousands of lives. Millions have been forced to flee, and there is no foreseeable end to the plight of the civilian population, who are the ones being hardest hit. The situation has now been further compounded as the invasion by Turkish forces has again sent tens of thousands fleeing from the disputed areas. On top of that, political tensions in neighbouring Lebanon are now also in danger of escalating. The consequences are potentially horrific, considering that almost a million war-displaced Syrians have already sought refuge in Lebanon.

For many years HEKS/EPER has already been providing emergency assistance to refugees and internally displaced persons in both countries – in Syria, so far mainly in the regions around the long and fiercely disputed cities of Eastern Ghouta and Dara'a, and in Lebanon, in the refugee camps around Beirut. Given the continuing strife in Syria, HEKS/EPER is stepping up its humanitarian aid for particularly vulnerable groups all across the country. Should the situation in Lebanon actually escalate as well, HEKS/EPER will also use some of the funds to resume immediate humanitarian operations there.

In an initial phase, some 6,000 especially vulnerable refugees in the Syrian cities of Al Raqqa and Al Hasakeh, mainly women, children and the elderly, will be provided with urgently needed everyday items to the tune of 150,000 francs. The items being distributed include food packages and hygiene articles (soaps, toothbrushes, towels and toilet paper). The first phase of the project is being implemented by the local partner organization GOPA (Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East). In addition, HEKS/EPER is in close contact with other local partners regarding the implementation of the next phase.

HEKS/EPER donations account: 80-1115-1, please mention «Middle East emergency aid»

Dieter Wüthrich
Head of Media and Information Department
Dieter Wüthrich

Phone: +41 44 360 88 66
Mobile: +41 76 461 88 70
E-mail: dieter.wuethrich@heks.ch

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