Helping refugees worldwide
International Catholic pastoral charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) spent $665,900 in 2012 for emergency aid in crisis and war-torn regions. This was more than double the previous year.
Although the principal task of ACN is to foster pastoral care and education around the world, aid is also given directly to people in need, regardless of their origin or religious convictions.
In particular, the crisis in Syria in the past year led to an intensification of aid efforts there.
In the spring of 2012, refugees within Syria itself were given aid, and later also in the neighboring countries of Jordan and Turkey, to which many thousands had fled.
Support was also provided for those who had left Iraq in previous years in search of security, but who now found themselves in Syria, where they had sought shelter, in even greater threat.
Many fled to Lebanon, where the Good Shepherd Sisters provided them with the bare necessities, as they had previously done in Northern Iraq.
Another focus of emergency aid in 2012 was support for refugees from North Sudan who had returned to their homeland following the independence of the South.
While the South, which is mainly marked by Christianity and traditional religions, is starting completely from scratch, Christians in the North live as a minority in a state dominated by Islam.
Many thousands of Christians have already moved to the South, and more are likely to follow.
In 2012, there were repeated violent clashes in the border region. While the situation has since calmed, tension remain, and the people have been demoralized by terror.
An estimated two million Sudanese lost their lives and four million were driven out in a failed attempt by North Sudan to force the South into Arabization and Islamization.
Another country which saw no peace in 2012 was one whose population had already undergone unimaginable suffering: the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the so-called Kivu Region. Here, too, ACN helped thousands of refugees, traumatized and homeless people.