by Patrick Nicholson, Director of Communications for Caritas International
“Children were dying of hunger. There was no milk to feed newborn babies,” says Amal, a 27-year-old mother who recently fled from Damascus.
“People were eating cats and dogs. We were boiling grass in water to make it go further. You hated the day because there was nothing to eat and you hated the night because there was nothing to eat.”
While the media focuses on the plight of people in Iraq and Gaza, Syrians continue to flee the war in their country, crossing the border to Lebanon and other neighbouring countries. Even if it is to face a life of uncertainty as a refugee, they say they have no choice because they have to save their children.
“They’ve lost everything, not just their homes and their belongings, but their self worth,” says Laurette Challita, an aid worker for CAFOD partner Caritas Lebanon. “Our job is to give them back their dignity; to give the refugees control of their own lives.”
The refugees live in makeshift tented camps, abandoned buildings or apartments, for those who can still afford it. They need to pay for rent, electricity, food and water. The children need to go to school, mothers need to give birth in hospitals and older people need medical help. Continue reading