THE bishop coordinating a massive relief operation for Iraqi Christians fleeing to Syria has thanked a leading Catholic charity for its ongoing emergency help – medicine, food aid and schooling. Bishop Antoine Audo S.J. of Aleppo, north-west Syria, turned to Aid to the Church in Need as a refugee crisis broke following the 2003 overthrow of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein and the charity has helped ever since.
The charity’s latest refugee package for Syria of $29,000 comes amid reports showing that Iraqis continue to face huge problems on entering the country. Exhausted after a long and sometimes tortuous journey, the refugees arriving in the Syrian capital, Damascus, and Aleppo receive help first and foremost for urgent operations and other medical aid.
Coordinated by Chaldean Catholic parishes in both cities, the relief operation also includes basic food stuffs – tea, butter, sugar and cooking oil – distributed monthly. In response to urgent pleas for help from young families, Bishop Audo (pictured) has opened a school for refugee children in Aleppo and both there and in Damascus youngsters are receiving educational support from parish volunteers. Speaking from Aleppo in an interview with Aid to the Church in Need, Bishop Audo said: “When the Iraqi Christians arrive in Syria, they only have the Church to help support them. It is the Church which is there for them. We are the ones providing adequate aid.”
Link (here) to the full article at Aid to the Church in Need