Issued by the Catholic Center for Studies and Media - Jordan. Editor-in-chief Fr. Rif'at Bader - موقع أبونا

Published on Friday, 24 March 2023
Syria: Catholic Churches launch projects to repair homes hit by earthquake
Catholic Churches in Syria are pressing ahead with projects to repair homes hit by the devastating earthquakes that affected southern Turkey and northern Syria, claiming the lives of more than 50,000 people. :

Catholic charity "Aid to the Church in Need" (ACN) has committed to providing more than 718,980 CAD in aid to help Christians return to their apartments and houses, and to support families with rent for temporary accommodation in the meantime.


Xavier Bisits, ACN’s head of projects for Syria, stressed that, with the country still recovering from the war and 90 per cent of people in the country living below the poverty line, this help was vital for Christian families.


He said: “The Church is often the only source of help for Christians who say they are not helped by the UN or other international NGOs.”


He added that in the meantime, the Churches are continuing their support for those with nowhere else to go.


He said: “There are still at least a thousand people in Church-run shelters and in parish halls, but that number is going down as they’re moving in with relatives, or engineers have visited their homes and declared them to be safe.”


The ecumenical Joint Committee of Christian Churches in Latakia – consisting of Greek Orthodox, Syriac Orthodox, Armenian Apostolic and Presbyterians are well as the Catholic Churches – will receive 345 000 CAD from ACN to restore more than 250 homes damaged by the natural disaster.


More than 100 buildings collapsed in Latakia Governorate following the February 6th quake, and it is estimated that the number of buildings which suffered damage of some sort exceeds 17,500.


In order to help the 800 Christian families directly affected by the earthquake, the Churches have divided the damaged houses into three categories, namely homes requiring major repairs. Almost all the families in this group are living in shelters or temporary accommodations; homes requiring significant renovations, and homes which are structurally sound but need minor repairs or renovations.


ACN help is going to apartments and houses in the first two categories.


Mr. Bisits stressed that these would not be buildings which had collapsed, but “buildings which have had enough damage that it either impedes usage or the government engineers have said it’s not safe to return.”


In Aleppo, where Churches also opened their doors to those made homeless by the earthquake, a similar scheme is in place.


Under the auspices of the Aleppo Bishops’ Council, an advisory committee of specialist engineers has been set up, which is responsible for assessing all damaged houses to help survivors return.