BALTIMORE, March 11, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As Syria marks five years since the beginning of its brutal civil war, Catholic Relief Services (CRS) reports that it has supported over one million people affected by the conflict.
"The scale of the suffering is devastating," said Kevin Hartigan, CRS Regional Director for Europe and the Middle East, who has overseen the response for the past four years. "But as Pope Francis reminds us, there are human faces behind the staggering statistics. Each of the millions of displaced Syrians is an individual uprooted from a full life, a family member, a loved one."
CRS began aiding Syrian refugees soon after the fighting started, working with partners in Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Turkey, Iraq and now, in Europe. CRS has provided basic assistance to hundreds of thousands of families, including food, medical care and shelter, but the organization has also put a unique emphasis, from the start, on education and psycho-social support for Syrian children. "The focus is rooted in our local Catholic partners' vocation for education and social work, and in our own history of supporting refugee education in the Middle East," said Hartigan.
In Europe, CRS works with local Catholic and Orthodox partners to provide food, shelter, medical care and legal and translation services to hundreds of thousands of refugees and other migrants.
"As we pray for peace in Syria we know that the humanitarian crisis is far from over, and that we have to keep striving to better support the survival and dignity of Syrian families, and the future of their children," said Hartigan. "It is a humbling privilege to do this work on behalf of the U.S. Catholic community and all of our supporters; our staff are inspired every day by the resilience of the Syrians and the generosity of the host communities and local Church volunteers."
CRS calls on the U.S. to continue to robustly fund the humanitarian response in countries of refuge, and to lead the international community in negotiating an end to the conflict.
Catholic Relief Services is the official international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States. The agency alleviates suffering and provides assistance to people in need in more than 100 countries, without regard to race, religion or nationality. CRS' relief and development work is accomplished through programs of emergency response, HIV, health, agriculture, education, microfinance and peacebuilding. For more information, visit www.crs.org or www.crsespanol.org and follow Catholic Relief Services on social media: Facebook, Twitter at @CatholicRelief and @CRSnews, Google+, Pinterest and YouTube
SOURCE Catholic Relief Services