Vatican agency provides emergency aid to Lebanese families

OTTAWA – CNEWA’s initial response to assist displaced families fleeing southern Lebanon includes the distribution of emergency supplies to 2,000 needy families (approximately five persons per family) seeking shelter in five areas now considered safe – Baabda, Jbeil, Jezzine, Kesserwan and Metn. Issam Bishara, CNEWA’s Regional Director for Lebanon and Syria, reports a total of 5,778 families, 1,004 of whom are Christian, now live in public schools, private homes, convents and other Catholic institutions in these safe havens.

CNEWA’s aid packages – valued at U.S. $100 per family – include a two-week supply of canned food (beans, cheese, corned beef, fish and sugar), powdered milk for children, detergents and soap, toilet paper and disposable plates. Emergency aid for 500 families has already been secured; deliveries will be completed by Friday, 28 July.

To date, CNEWA has received initial pledges for more than €70,000 in emergency grants from a number of European funding partners, including Misereor, the humanitarian agency of the German Catholic bishops, and Missio Aachen, an international Catholic aid organization based in Aachen, Germany. “Additional pledges, which are desperately needed as supplies dwindle and prices escalate, are welcomed,” said Carl Hétu, CNEWA Canada National Secretary.

Founded in 1926 by Pope Pius XI, CNEWA is an agency of the Vatican providing support to the churches and peoples of the Middle East, Northeast Africa, India and Eastern Europe. Its projects include needy child, seminarian and religious sister sponsorship programs; village redevelopment; health care and education; and public awareness and interreligious dialogue.

Contributions, which are tax-deductible, can be sent by mail to CNEWA Canada, 1247 Kilborn Place, Ottawa, Ontario K1H 6K9, or through CNEWA’s web site, or by phone 1-866-322-4441.

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