A few days after the devastating earthquake in the border area between Turkey and Syria, relief operations for the hard-to-reach northern part of Syria have now begun. The Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East, a member of the EMS Fellowship, is also involved.
Last weekend, the Episcopal Church sent a first convoy of food, blankets and jackets for 600 families. The aid is heading for the Syrian regions of Idlib, Aleppo and Latakia. "We're hoping for as many people as possible to help out. Every minute counts," says Pastor Fa'eq H. Haddad, who is coordinating the mission.
In northern Syria, the humanitarian situation following the earthquake is particularly dramatic. Many people there have already lost everything in the twelve-year civil war and are at the end of their tether. "The effects of the war are now being compounded by cold and hunger. This makes everything much more complicated," says Pastor Haddad. "It is literally a 'crisis within a crisis'. We must therefore respond immediately to help our Syrian sisters and brothers, as Christ taught us".
Tents, blankets, generators, heaters, warm winter clothing and non-perishable food are the most urgent needs. The Episcopal Church is working with the Jordan Hashemite Charity Organisation (JHCO) to ensure that these supplies reach their destination. The JHCO has the necessary contacts and a well-functioning supply chain and convoy system.
More than 27 congregations in Israel, Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria belong to the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East. Through the Theodor Schneller School (TSS) in Amman, Jordan, and the Arab Episcopal School for blind and visually impaired children, the church maintains close links with the Evangelical Mission in Solidarity (EMS).