Issued by the Catholic Center for Studies and Media - Jordan. Editor-in-chief Fr. Rif'at Bader - موقع أبونا abouna.org
The earthquake, which struck on February 6th 2023 measured 7.8 on the Richter scale and caused widespread damage in both countries. It is estimated that over 46,000 people lost their lives, with many more injured and displaced from their homes, while significant damage to infrastructure, including roads, hospitals, and other vital services, was caused, exacerbating the challenges of the ongoing conflict in the region.
The response to the earthquake was immediate, with humanitarian organizations from around the world mobilizing to provide aid and support to those affected. In the midst of this devastating humanitarian crisis, in coordination with Caritas Syria and Caritas International, Caritas Lebanon’s Emergency Response Unit, delegated 15 volunteers, who traveled to Syria to assist in relief operations, mainly in the affected cities of Aleppo and Latakiya, providing assistance and basic necessities like food, water, and shelter to those who had lost everything in the earthquake.
The Emergency Response Unit of Caritas Lebanon is a team of young people who are specially trained in emergency response and humanitarian aid. Following their experience responding to the devastating Beirut blast in 2020, this team has developed the expertise and experience needed to respond quickly and effectively to crises and disasters.
Their powerful testimonies have shed light on the extent of the disaster in Syria, as the Head of Caritas Lebanon Youth Department Peter Mahfouz said in a video message: “From a wounded people to an afflicted people, the young volunteers of Caritas Lebanon’s ERU decided to surpass all the borders and barriers to help our brothers who are in need in these difficult circumstances, because the youth of Caritas Lebanon are at the service of humanity regardless of time or places”.
The organization has been active in providing humanitarian aid and support to those affected by the ongoing conflict in Syria, mainly to refugees living in Lebanon, and other vulnerable populations.
Caritas Lebanon president, Carmelite Fr Michel Abboud praised the work of the team thanking them for the voluntary work to support the Syrian people alongside with Caritas International and Caritas Syria: “You were the first pioneers of subsequent delegations of young people who asked to go to Syria to help the people affected by the tragedy, and who will be going from Caritas Lebanon …” He concluded by saying: “The Lord gave us the grace of life, and in turn we support people to face their difficulties.
Despite the ongoing crisis and growing needs in Lebanon, Caritas Lebanon did not hesitate to offer assistance to their neighbors in Syria, where the young volunteers played a particularly critical role in the response effort, and their swift response to the earthquake was a testament to their commitment to alleviating suffering and building more resilient communities
Whether they are providing medical assistance, distributing aid and supplies, or coordinating relief efforts with local and international partners, the Catholic organization that celebrated this year 50 years of presence and service in Lebanon, is one of the most trusted organizations, providing help and assistance to thousands of persons regardless to their religion, race or nationality, in addition to migrants and refugees living in difficult conditions and is committed making a positive difference in the world.