The Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, His Beatitude Fouad Twal, emphasizes the urgency of bringing help to Syrian refugees. He also calls for the generosity of all to support the refugees, victims of a conflict which has exceeded 1000 days, and of the material hardships affecting their lives.
Following a period of drought and the month of November, the hottest in 60 years, the religious leaders of the three monotheistic religions in the Holy Land called on their followers to pray for rain. As rain came in early December, it is a blessing for both the land and its people.
However, this rainfall, because of its sudden intensity, brought challenges. A snow storm hit the Middle East during these last days of 2013, covering several countries, including Jordan, Lebanon, Israel and Palestine. Heavy snow fell over the area – a blessing for these countries – even if, in part, it deprived people of electricity, material and medical help, and even food items.
In these days of harsh cold, there remains the alarming condition of the Syrian refugees who, according to UN sources, number close to 2 million in neighbouring countries of Syria. Nearly three quarters of these refugees have found shelter in Lebanon and in Jordan. Over 50% are aged under 17 years. The living conditions in the different refugee camps are extremely painful. Frequently, they are without electricity or drinking water. Additionally, there is a massive daily influx of Syrians, which impedes building housing units and obliges people to face the cold under tents, sometimes on the floor covered with snow.
By: Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem (LPJ)