Caritas Lebanon Director speaks on Syrian refugees

2013-01-19 Vatican Radio

(Vatican Radio) Lebanon is appealing to the international community for aid as the country works to provide humanitarian care for displaced persons fleeing the violence in Syria. A recent report from the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) says there are some 139,000 registered refugees from Syria, with more than 55,000 awaiting registration in Lebanon. Syria’s two-year civil war is responsible for the deaths of at least 60,000 people, according to a UN estimate released earlier this month. Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands have fled to neighbouring countries to escape the conflict.

President of Caritas Internationalis Lebanon Fr Simon Faddoul spoke with Ann Schneible about the humanitarian situation on the ground for refugees, and for Christians in the region.

“The current situation in Lebanon,” Fr Faddoul said, “is an unstable situation, at all levels: Security wise, and economically and politically, and socially.”

“Most of the refugees have come to areas that are already poor… which makes things much harder. You cannot just think of the refugee, but you think of the host family. It has become very hard,” he said.

Fr Faddoul spoke also about providing pastoral care to those refugees coming to Lebanon, taking into account that the vast majority are Muslim, with Christians comprising a small minority.

“There is, first, a common approach to all,” he explained, “that the human touch is more important than the materialistic needs. It’s not important what you give; it’s important how you give it.”

Listen to Ann Schneible’s full interview with Fr Simon Faddoul, president of Caritas Internationalis Lebanon: