Scotland's Catholic bishops back appeal for Syrian refugees

(AP)
Syrian refugees stand near their tent at Zaatari camp near the Syrian border, near Mafraq, Jordan

Catholic churches across Scotland are being asked to support an appeal in aid of Syrians fleeing from the conflict.

The Syrian Refugee Emergency Appeal is being run by SCIAF, the Scottish Catholic development agency.

A letter from Scottish Catholic bishops supporting the appeal will be read out at every Catholic church this Sunday and special collections will be made for the appeal.

The letter, signed by Archbishop Philip Tartaglia and Bishop Peter Moran, highlights the plight of over two million people now living as refugees in neighbouring Jordan and Lebanon.

"Living in crowded refugee camps and with local hosts, there is not enough food, clean water, shelter or medical care to go round and as more and more people arrive, things are only getting worse," they said.

"With your generosity, SCIAF can provide both comfort and care. More and more people are now coming into Jordan with injuries from the war, to add to the newborn babies, elderly people and those with severe medical problems particularly at risk.

"Many of the refugees are also trying to deal with the terrible things they have seen or are constantly worried about their family members who are still in Syria."

SCIAF is working with sister agency Caritas Jordan to provide support to the refugees, including food, clothing, healthcare and counselling.

In addition to refugees, the agencies are providing support to Jordanians who have opened their homes to help new arrivals.

Caritas Jordan has registered over 146,800 Syrian refugees. To date, SCIAF has directed £75,000 in emergency aid funded by donations from generous Scots, but it warns more is needed.

SCIAF International Programme Manager with responsibility for the charity's Syrian refugee emergency response, Robert Angove said: "The plight of Syrian refugees is worsening. Many are traumatised by what they have experienced and in need of psychological support. Many others are arriving with war-related injuries.

"The huge influx of new refugees is placing a substantial burden on the host communities in countries such as Jordan and Lebanon. There is increasing pressure on accommodation outside the camps, food, water and local medical services."

Pope Francis has asked Catholics worldwide to observe a day of fasting and prayer for peace in Syria this Saturday.

Members of the public can donate to SCIAF's Syria Refugee Emergency Committee online at www.sciaf.org.uk or tel: 0141 354 5555.

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