Saturday 17 March 2018

Irish aid reaches 40,000 people fleeing Syrian war

Children in refugee camps in Lebanon who received aid from Human Appeal Ireland
Children in refugee camps in Lebanon who received aid from Human Appeal Ireland

Sam Griffin in Lebanon

CLOTHES, shoes, food, hygiene supplies and bandages donated from all over Ireland are being distributed to more than 40,000 people displaced by the fighting and terror in Syria.

The aid was collected by Human Appeal Ireland, which is based in Dublin, and is the largest shipment of aid to be delivered to Syria this year by any EU country. Volunteers from Ireland have accompanied the 40 tonnes of aid which was shipped in 33 containers from Dublin to the troubled region earlier this month.

It arrived into Damascus this week.

Due to the tense situation in Syria, many aid agencies have struggled to get aid to the seven million people displaced internally in Syria.

Belkacem Belfedhal, from Human Appeal Ireland, said many of those displaced by the fighting have come to the capital Damascus "as it is perceived to be the safest place in Syria".

"But the situation is very bad there. Whole families are sleeping on the streets.

"There is a severe food shortage and people need warm clothes for the winter," he said.

The organisation's spokeswoman, Fiona Duffy, said the group was "absolutely thrilled" with the level of donations as part of the Ireland2Syria convoy, with aid coming from all over the country.

"Schools, businesses and religious groups of all denominations got involved, raising money and collecting supplies which we were able to get directly to needy people in Syria," she said.

"The temperatures in Syria drop to well below freezing this time of year and people who have fled the violence in their home areas are living in very precarious conditions.

"The people of Ireland can be very proud of the help that they have given to improve the conditions of these often desperate people," she added.

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