The “situation is still dramatic” in Syria, said Cardinal Mario Zenari. “There are some signs of hope, but the situation is still very difficult,” he explained.
On August 30, 2017, L’Osservatore Romano quoted the words of the Apostolic Nuncio in Syria to the Tg2000 television channel, during a break in a Rimini Meeting in Italy.
“Since the beginning of this year, about 600,000 people have returned to their homes and villages: they were in the neighboring countries, but at the same time, during the same period there were 800,000 new displaced persons. The figures are, unfortunately, still very sad,” said the Nuncio.
He believes the war “will last for months and months.” The Christians “who fled to Europe haven’t returned, at least not now. The first returned because life in Lebanon is very expensive and once they saw that, the situation in some of their villages is less dangerous, they returned to their half destroyed small homes,” he continued.
Cardinal Zenari spoke of “Catholic hospitals open” for all: an idea that came to him “during the Year of Mercy.” “I saw the disaster in Syria with more than half of the emergency hospitals and clinics made unserviceable by the battles and I saw that our three Catholic hospitals were not working at full capacity because they were strangled by the enormous costs.”
“It broke my heart to see the closing of certain Departments. If before in these hospitals one worked with 100 percent of the staff, today there should be 120 to 130 percent. Hence the idea of open Catholic hospitals for the poor, without distinctions of religion and ethnicity.”
In regard to the health situation in the country, the Cardinal said again that the costs of management are enormous “and always increase more; electricity and gas heating have increased enormously and 75 percent of the population lives in poverty.” “Moreover, two-thirds of the health personnel have left Syria, that’s why it will be necessary to locate new doctors and nurses, have courses of formation and renew the machines a lot. A heavy engagement that, we hope, will be supported by all, including the West,” he concluded.
Translation by Virginia M. Forrester