September 10 2015

Christian Aid has launched an appeal to support both partner agencies working in Europe to alleviate suffering in the refugee crisis and organisations in the Middle East providing emergency relief to those forced from their homes by the conflicts in Syria and Iraq.

The charity is also urging people across Cornwall to support its appeal by asking supporters to email Prime Minister David Cameron and Home Secretary Theresa May, pressing them to take a courageous stand at EU talks next week to ensure the UK plays a full part in a “permanent, balanced and mandatory EU relocation scheme”, which the charity says must include the UK welcoming those seeking sanctuary in Europe.

The e-action also urges the Government to do more both to ensure aid reaches people in besieged areas in Syria, and to achieve a political settlement there to help bring the day closer when Syrians can return home safely.

Christian Aid’s coordinator for Cornwall Chris Jadav said: “Christian Aid was founded 70 years ago in response to the millions of people displaced after the Second World War.

“Today the world is witnessing a human crisis of similar proportions. We are encouraging the people of Cornwall to support the Refugee Crisis Appeal and help us respond to the immediate needs of refugees on the move and in the overcrowded, dangerous camps of Lebanon, Syria and Iraq. We will be holding a street collection in Truro on Friday 18th September and anticipate supporters across the county holding collections and local fundraising activity.

“Fifty per cent of the Syrian population is now displaced, with more than 4.1 million people forced to seek safety outside the country. Your donations could help provide much-needed basic essentials, including nourishing food, warm blankets and healthcare.

“The plight of those seeking sanctuary in Europe demands visionary leadership from European governments to face this crisis together. We call on the UK to join other countries in welcoming refugees within Europe with open arms. The Prime Minister and Home Secretary must act with courage to rise to this great challenge of our times.”

Christian Aid’s Head of Middle East, Frances Guy, said today: “Countries in the region are hosting an overwhelming number of refugees. Providing assistance and support in Iraq and Lebanon is a massive challenge for our partners.

“It is the plight of those still trapped in besieged communities in Syria, however, which is the most worrying. In his latest report the UN Secretary-General expressed specific concern about over 422,000 people living in such places. Water and food have become tools of the conflict.

“A further major worry, both in Europe and the Middle East, is that winter is coming which means cold and illness for those without adequate protection.”

In Europe, Christian Aid’s partners in the Act Alliance, a global coalition of more than 130 churches and church-related organisations that work together in humanitarian assistance, are providing emergency relief in Greece, Serbia and Hungary.

To donate, visit https://donate.christianaid.org.uk/refugees

To email the Prime Minister David Cameron and Home Secretary Theresa May, visit www.Christianaid.org.uk/actforrefugees

Details of prayer vigils are on the Christian Aid website at: http://www.christianaid.org.uk/prayers-and-vigils

On 7 September another 2000 people cross the Serbian-Hungarian border illegally. People are arriving in an endless row along the rails. Here we meet a 7-member Iraqi family who left Baghdad 25 days ago. Security situation in Baghdad is very bad â they say -, the father was armed with a gun when he had to go to work, but it was only one of the reasons that prompted them to set off to Germany. The main reason is that one of their four daughters was born with cerebral palsy five years ago, she has epilepsy and her state always gets worse with the onset of the cold weather. She cannot speak or walk; her father carried her on his neck all the way through Turkey, Greece, Macedonia and Serbia. They hope she can get help in Germany.

On 7 September another 2000 individuals cross the Serbian-Hungarian border illegally. Hungarian Interchurch Aid brought blankets to the nearby registration point. People are arriving in an endless row along the rails. One of them is a Palestinian family from Syria, a mother with 3 children. They left Aleppo one month ago following an air raid that destroyed their home. They were staying with her parents for a while. Her husband went to Germany one and a half years ago, he does not have a job yet, but they are in constant contact, and he is waiting for them to arrive. The mother used to work as a teacher in Syria, she does not know what to expect now. They are extremely tired, they were sleeping on the streets or in ditches during the last month, but she is smiling as she feels they are close to their destination.

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