Thursday, 23. March 2023

German Students Launch Aid Campaign for Earthquake Victims

From Germany via Lebanon to Northern Syria


Two German students in Lebanon have launched a relief campaign for the earthquake victims in northern Syria. They are supported by their university - the Near East School of Theology (NEST) in Beirut - and their sending organisation, the Evangelical Mission in Solidarity (EMS).

"Our aim is to fill two trucks with relief supplies and send them to an old people's home and the medical centres in Aleppo and the surrounding area by the end of April," says Anna Kierdorf, who is studying theology in Bonn and is currently spending a semester abroad in Lebanon. Her co-student at the university in Beirut is theology student Antonia Kura from Berlin. "We are deeply shocked by the fate of the people in this region which is already ravaged by war. We started the aid campaign as a gesture of solidarity with them," says the 26-year-old.

Anna Kierdorf and Antonia Kura had been studying at the Protestant NEST in Beirut for about five months when several earthquakes reduced large parts of the Turkish-Syrian border region to rubble on the night of 6 February 2023. The tremors were so strong, they were felt in neighbouring Lebanon. "For days we had seen our fellow Syrian students worrying about the well-being of their loved ones. Each aftershock was cause for new prayers and worries. To overcome the despair and helplessness, we all decided to act together," said the students.

Baby food, nappies and hygiene products for earthquake victims

"Thanks to our fellow Syrian students, we were able to make contact with the affected region around Aleppo relatively quickly. We felt it was important to ask the people in northern Syria what they needed most. Only then did we start procuring the relief supplies and coordinating transport," explains Anna Kierdorf. "The plan was only finalised after we were able to win over two former NEST graduates in Aleppo to accept and distribute the relief supplies," adds Antonia Kura and asks for our understanding that the names of the contact persons should not be made public for security reasons. The political situation in the country is still very unstable and people are afraid of reprisals.

Through their local contacts, the students found out that there is a great need for baby food. The earthquake has left many infant children orphaned. Mothers have problems breastfeeding due to the abysmal conditions and baby milk formulas are hardly available in Syria. In addition, there is a severe shortage of nappies and everyday hygiene products for children, old people and women.

Despite international publicity, work on the ground is very difficult due to a lack of staff and limited relief supplies. Sanctions against Syria make the situation even more difficult.

The students are cooperating with the Evangelical Mission in Solidarity in Germany. The EMS is providing the students with a donation account and forwarding any donations it receives directly to the students to finance the aid project.

"We ask for your support for our project. With your help, we want to keep the flame of hope burning. We are grateful for every donation," said the German female students.

If you want to learn more about the aid project, please participate in the next "Sharing of Life Concerns" podcast by the EMS (Monday, 3 April, 13.00 to 14.15) - a video conference on current topics via Zoom open to everyone who is interested (sign up here). Anna Kierdorf and Antonia Kura will be reporting from Lebanon on their relief work and fielding your questions.

Donation account
Evangelische Bank eG
IBAN: DE85 5206 0410 0000 0001 24
Keyword: Emergency Aid Syria