People under constant threat of bombardment in the Syrian city of Aleppo will receive a fresh emergency relief package in the latest round of aid payments announced by the UK arm of Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need.
At least 5,000 people in Aleppo and Hassake, both in northern Syria, are in line for a six months’ supply of gas, electricity, water and rent – all desperately needed amid a deepening infrastructure crisis caused by growing conflict in the area.
The £187,000 aid package will be coordinated by Sister Annie Demerjian, a long-standing ACN project partner, who leads a team of people who have assessed the needs of thousands of people in the area.
Aid to the Church in Need (UK) is rolling out 25 projects this month including two for Lebanon – help for 11 major seminarians in Batrun diocese and a programme of pastoral activities for refugee women supported by the Good Shepherd Sisters in Ain Saade.
In Africa, ACN is helping to build a new church for a parish in Cameroon, there is another church for the Mutti Dekia region of Ethiopia and an educational and retreat centre for Butare, Rwanda.
Elsewhere in Africa, ACN is providing emergency relief – rice and maize – for people in Malawi, support for 13 seminarians in Bossangoa diocese, Central African Republic, and preparation work for a new chapel for religious Sisters in Kampala diocese, Uganda.
In Bangladesh ACN is supporting deacons with prayer books and in India ACN is building a new convent, with another on the way in Digos diocese, Philippines.
In Georgia, ACN is helping with the living costs of 14 religious Sisters and in Ukraine the charity is helping the Latin Diocese of Kharkiv-Zaporizhzhya with a new church.
Just back from Syria, John Pontifex, ACN UK Head of Press and Information, said: “Against a backdrop of enormous suffering which we saw for ourselves, ACN’s help is a great consolation – and we were told this again and again by bishops, priests, Sisters, young and old who gave us words of thanks to be passed on to the charity’s wonderful benefactors.
“As one priest in Homs told me: ‘Our tears are not only tears of sadness, they are tears of joy that someone has heard our cries and come to help us.’”