Syria: Fighting spreads to Damascus
Aid distribution areas not yet affected
Cologne. The violent clashes that have broken out in the streets of Damascus over the past three days will likely make it more difficult to deliver assistance to those in need in the Syrian capital, reports Malteser International, the Order of Malta’s worldwide humanitarian relief agency.
“So far, there hasn’t been any fighting in the areas where we hope to distribute our aid packages to the needy population”, says Thomas Molitor, emergency relief coordinator for Syria at Malteser International. The aid organisation fears that the escalation of violence in Damascus will continue.
Those fleeing to Damascus are seeking refuge in the homes of relatives and friends. “The influx of displaced families continues to rise, especially in poor neighbourhoods on the outskirts of the city”, Molitor says. “There, you sometimes find three or four families sharing apartments where only one family used to live”.
Malteser International’s local partner, the International Blue Crescent (IBC), is taking precautions to guarantee the safety of its staff on the ground. “Our staff is very familiar with these neighbourhoods, since we were providing assistance to Iraqi refugees there even before the current crisis began”, says Muzaffer Baca, IBC’s vice-president. “All of our staff members are native Syrians, so they are familiar with the safety issues in the city. We are monitoring the security situation daily and will adapt our approach to avoid any risks”.
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Reference: “Syria emergency relief”
Malteser International is the worldwide relief agency of the Sovereign Order of Malta for humanitarian aid. The organisation provides aid in about 100 projects in more than 20 countries without distinction of religion, race or political persuasion. Christian values and the humanitarian principles of impartiality and independence are the foundation of its work. For further information: www.malteser-international.org and www.orderofmalta.int
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