MARCH 15, 2019 marked the eighth anniversary of the beginning of the civil war in Syria. Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) is marking the occasion by highlighting the ongoing emergency situation in the country—especially the plight of the 127,185 Christian families registered in Syria, according to ACN data.
The Syrian civil war has caused the greatest humanitarian catastrophe since World War II, with some 12 million refugees and Internally Displaced People.
Today, Christians in Syria form only 3 percent of the population, whereas before the war they accounted for 10 percent. In addition to all the consequences of the fighting and the impact onof the economic embargo on their country, Syrian Christians have also suffered religious persecution at the hands of various jihadist groups involved in the conflict.
During these eight years of war, in fact, 1,707 Christians were murdered and 677 were abducted. At the same time more than 1250 Christian churches and other Church properties were destroyed and some 9800 Christian houses and homes were damaged or destroyed.
Since the beginning of the conflict in March 2011 through the end 2018, ACN has allocated more than $33M for 738 projects to fulfil its mission to support the Church in need throughout the country. The projects were implemented by 9 different Christian Churches, and managed thanks to the cooperation of 130 project partners on the ground.
Of the 738 projects funded, some 80 percent were in the form of emergency aid, among them some 308 programs to provide basic necessities to Christian families who have not left the country; 10 percent of the aid was earmarked for the reconstruction of people’s homes and Church properties. A further 6 percent was given in the form of Mass stipends and pastoral aid.
The 13 main emergency aid projects funded during these eight years of war include the following: direct emergency aid for the most basic necessities; food parcels, financial support for students, medical aid, support with rent, heating, electricity, gas and water; milk and diapers for babies and small children, essential medicines, Christmas gifts for the children, warm clothing, educational materials and vocational counseling.
The project “a drop of milk” for children under 10 years, accounted for 15 percent of the total emergency aid given, while more than $2M was given in the form of rent subsidies for Syrian Christian refugee families, while $1M went to the rebuilding of the houses of returning families.