The president of Caritas in Lebanon says they need international aid to care for refugees from Syria, whose numbers are “growing in an incredible way.”
Father Simon Faddoul spoke with Vatican Radio about the crisis, saying the Lebanese government and aid agencies are increasingly unable to cope.
“The Lebanese government today in the news is estimating the numbers to be 1.2 million people coming from Syria to Lebanon, which means actually more needs, more potential problems of all sorts … and especially, especially the lodging (is a problem),” he told the Radio. “You cannot find a place to house these people. The housing is a very problematic thing; resources are getting all the more scarce. The United Nations has launched an appeal and has really made a warning in that respect. We as NGOs, we are doing the same because we haven’t had any practical, tangible help so far. The Lebanese government has launched an appeal to fund its activities. Nobody has given the Lebanese government any penny yet. So it’s very problematic. We don’t know where we are heading.”
Fr. Faddoul said the “massive presence” of the refugees in Lebanon is “chaotic,” and with no organization, which is nourishing fear among the Lebanese.
The priest also warned that epidemics are starting: tuberculosis and an infection carried by sand flies.
Fr. Faddoul launched an appeal to the international community and to those listening to Vatican Radio, “to all those good-hearted people, please, please listen to the suffering of the Syrian people inside Syria and around in the neighboring countries, especially in Lebanon. Lebanon (has) four million inhabitants – we are hosting 1.2 million Syrian people which means more than 25% of the (Lebanese) population has become Syrian. And it’s really crazy, from the humanitarian side, it’s getting uncontrollable.
“We need every bit of help we can get to reach out to these people and try to find some durable solutions at least for the coming couple of years until the problems are solved and the people can return to their homes.”