Editor’s note: we received the following email this morning from Michel Constantin, CNEWA’s regional director in Beirut, who has been in touch with our partners on the ground in Syria. He offers the latest information we have on what is happening in Aleppo.
The humanitarian situation is catastrophic; the weather is extremely cold. Over 15,000 people had gathered in a square in east Aleppo on Sunday for buses to take them to rebel-held areas outside the city. Many had spent the night sleeping in the streets in freezing temperatures. In the evenings, it can go to –5C [23 Fahrenheit]. They have access to very little food, fuel, water and medical supplies. The situation on the ground remains grim as people wait.
As for the Christian communities (which are in west Aleppo, in the areas primarily controlled by the Syrian army): they find themselves in a better security situation because combat and military activities have been reduced.
During the last few weeks, the situation of the Christians in Aleppo has been extremely difficult. Some convents were directly hit with shelling. At present the families are in great need for heating fuel and food.
With our partners on the ground, CNEWA is trying hard to support the neediest fragile families with emergency supplies, especially providing 2,000 children with milk components every month through the Marist brothers. We are also providing medical support through the Maronite Archdiocese of Aleppo and the Saint Vincent de Paul association.
At present, we are expecting some direct funds to help the neediest families before Christmas; we are working with the Besançon Sisters to try and keep some 750 families warm.
Of course, all of what we do is not enough. Any emergency donation should be directed to accompany the poor families through the harsh winter with winterization items.