The situation for the people of Syria is a critical one with the country facing the worst humanitarian crisis in a generation. Over 100,000 people have lost their lives in two years of war.
In Syria, over 8.4m people – approximately half of whom are children – are in need of humanitarian assistance. Approximately 5.8m people have been forced to abandon their homes, with 2.1m people seeking refuge in the neighbouring countries of Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt. More than 50% of registered refugees are children. If current trends persist, it can be expected that over 3.5 million Syrians will have left their country by the end of 2013 – putting an enormous burden on the refugee-hosting countries.
With Caritas, in response to the crisis, Trócaire has been delivering vital emergency aid since 2011 to over 273,000 people in Syria and the neighbouring countries. The contributions from this special collection will help to get food, water, clothing, shelter, medical and psycho-social supports to those most in need.
Super Typhoon Haiyan (local name “Yolanda”) made landfall on Friday morning, 8 November, on the southern tip of the Eastern Visayas island of Samar as a Category 5 super typhoon with 195 mph winds. The typhoon travelled west through Samar, Leyte, Cebu, Panay and Palawan Islands before exiting the Philippines on Saturday.
The damage from Haiyan is catastrophic. The city of Tacloban in Leyte was particularly hard-hit, with widespread destruction and loss of life reported. Caritas Philippines estimate that over 10,000 people have been killed and 600,000 have been displaced from their homes. Tacloban city is without power, water and food.
The United Nations estimate that almost 10 million people have been affected.
This is a major humanitarian crisis and Trócaire is responding with our Caritas partners – we have already committed €100,000 to support their work. We are also supporting the work of Irish missionaries in the affected regions. The International Caritas Network is putting together an international team to support the effort and a Trócaire staff member is part of that team. The public have been making donations in person at our centres in Dublin, Cork and Belfast and online at www.trocaire.org.
Trócaire’s partner, Catholic Relief Services (USA) has sent rapid assessment teams to the typhoon-hit regions. Eight thousand tarpaulins are currently being distributed to provide temporary shelter for survivors. Agencies working on the ground are also assessing water and sanitation needs to prevent the spread of water-bourne diseases, which will be one of the immediate threats to survivors. Irish public donations will be used to provide water, food, shelter and medicines to those who are most affected.
According to Fr. Edwin Gariguez of Caritas Philippines: “It’s a great catastrophe, our emergency planning is underway. It’s the strongest and biggest storm that has hit the country. It’s hit an area already devastated by an earthquake. It’s a really big calamity.”
Trócaire is the official overseas development agency of the Catholic Church in Ireland.
Trócaire is a member of Caritas Internationalis, the international confederation of 162 Catholic development agencies, and CIDSE, the alliance of 16 Catholic development organisations in Europe and America.