venerdì, dicembre 18, 2015

 

An urgent distress call from the Chaldean Eparchy of Beirut for helping the Iraqi and Syrian refugees who have fled to Lebanon

By Baghdadhope*


The Chaldean Church in Lebanon receives every day numbers of Christian Iraqi and Syrian families that are fleeing their respective countries to Lebanon.
The number of refugee families is permanently increasing, as they come to Lebanon asking for shelter and safety, until they get a permanent resettlement through UNHCR in the different western countries that accept to host them.
In spite of the deterioration of the social and economic situation in Lebanon, the country being exhausted from long and miserable years of war that has paralyzed most of its basic and vital sectors, it is still able to receive big numbers of people seeking shelter and safety, especially the ones coming from Iraq and Syria. A consistent number of refugees arrive daily to the Cedar’s Country seeking a better life and a safe haven, taking into consideration the fact that it is easy to cross the borders.
With the increase of the number of refugees, many problems have occurred, most requiring a quick solution. A big percentage of these refugees are due to face very quickly the bitter truth that will affect the image of the dreamed paradise that they have once drawn in their minds.
In the space of few days, their life turns upside down and they are drawn into a daily battle, through which they make great efforts to protect their dignity and to secure their living.
Once arrived in Lebanon, these refugee families start to suffer from the difficulties of the social and economic situations; add to that the fact that they have to live in narrow rooms, which are most of the times in a bad condition, as most lack of sanitary safety.
They also face difficulties in moving inside Lebanon from one place to another, being afraid of being jailed by the Lebanese Security authorities because of their illegal resident status.
It is important to know that the Chaldean Eparchy of Beirut was able so far, in collaboration with the Lebanese Security Forces, to set an identification card that the Church grants to the Chaldean Iraqi and Syrian refugees, which enable them to move inside the Lebanese territories, till they get resettled by the UNHCR. The needs of the increasing numbers of Iraqi and Syrian brothers vary between the necessary daily life requirements and the most urgent ones, such as the needs for housing, hospitalization, medical care, and children’s education.
In spite of the support provided by humanitarian associations and other private donations, our Iraqi and Syrian brothers keep knocking on the doors of their respective churches in Lebanon and especially on the doors of the Chaldean Church in Lebanon, that keeps trying, in spite of the lack of permanent financial resources, to procure help and assistance to the refugees on all levels.
A study conducted by the Chaldean Charity Association in Lebanon about the situation of the Iraqi and Syrian refugees, especially those living in the northeastern suburbs of Beirut, a region stretching from Sed El Baouchriyeh to Dekwaneh, has revealed that what has been provided by the concerned institutions and organizations in the domain of the human, social and medical services, was not sufficient to assure the basic necessary needs that guarantee to these families an honorable and quasi natural life.
We, at the Chaldean Eparchy of Beirut, aim permanently to insure these services as well as an acceptable and correct living for the Iraqi and Syrian refugees in Lebanon.
Therefore we hope that you will help us providing food and hygiene parcels for the three thousand five hundred (3500) Iraqi and Syrian families registered until this date at the Chaldean Church in Lebanon, that would be distributed on the basis of four times per year, which means a total of fourteen thousand (14000) food and hygiene parcels, for a value of sixty American dollars (60$) for each parcel.The final amount would be eight hundred seventy five thousand American dollars (875.000$) yearly, including packing, shipping and storage.
On the other hand, we are also helping two thousand and five hundred (2500) students from refugee families attending Lebanese schools for the school year 2015-2016, with a contribution of three hundred and fifty American dollars (350$) for each student. And to summarize the total of the yearly contribution is reaching eight hundred and seventy five thousand American dollars (875.000$) per year.
These families are also in need of medical care and hospitalization, for that, the Chaldean Eparchy of Beirut participates and contributes yearly with an amount reaching three hundred thousand American dollars (300.000$) for diverse surgeries, childbirths, open heart surgeries, diverse cancer diseases treatments, diverse radiographies and medical scans, laboratory tests and providing medications … and it is known that most of the treatments are required for long-term, especially the ones related to the cancer diseases … Knowing that the Lebanese Government doesn’t provide hospitalization for the refugees, especially the Iraqi ones, and private institutions, if present, merely provide 50% of the treatment value, which doesn’t include cancer diseases or major surgeries. Note also that most of the private institutions have started to reduce their contributions for many reasons; the most important one is the lack of people financing it.
For this reason, the Chaldean Eparchy of Beirut has established since the year 2011, a Medical and Social Center, under the name of Saint Michel Medical Center in Sed El Baouchriyeh- Electricity Street, which offers quasi-free most of the medical services. It encloses a big number of specializations in addition to the pharmacy and rooms for small surgeries, and it has contracts with different laboratories for blood tests. The Medical Center receives more than one hundred thirty (130) patients per day. The expenses of the Medical Center are around two hundred fifty thousand American dollars (250.000$) per year.
The Chaldean Charity Association cooperates permanently with the Church, in order to insure on regular basis food parcels and financial help to the refugee families, but it does not have the means to cover surgeries or medical services which costs exceeds its financial ability. Note that the Ministry of Health doesn’t take in charge surgeries or medical services for non-Lebanese, except in exceptional cases and by a decision from the competent minister.
On the other hand, and in collaboration with different charitable associations and the Supreme Council of the Chaldean Community in Lebanon, the Chaldean Eparchy of Beirut, through the Chaldean Charity Association, organizes the distributing of food and hygiene parcels and conducts Christmas celebrations for kids and elderly people with suitable atmosphere and presents.
And today, and in spite of the financial penury and its quasi vanished resources, the only hope for the Chaldean Eparchy of Beirut remains in the spiritual care and assistance; we are hoping that in the future we can build a Chaldean parish church in Sed El Baouchriyeh, along with a house that could shelter the priest’s office and housing, as well as a charitable restaurant for needy people, in order to guarantee a permanent existence next to the sons of the Chaldean Church from Lebanese, Iraqi and Syrians nationalities living in this area.
On August this year (2015) we were able with God’s help and charitable contributors to establish a new center that takes care of the social, pastoral and other administrative services, in the region of Sed El Baouchriyeh, and we have given it the name of the Virgin Mary “Our Lady of the Divine Mercy”. This center will take in charge the reception of the Iraqi and Syrian refugee families that have recently fled to Lebanon. It encloses a reception and registration office, a secretary for administrative affairs, a priest and a social assistant for counselling and assisting the families, as well as the new food and hygiene parcels distribution facility.
Furthermore, in the intention of supporting the refugees in finding jobs that could procure them a fair daily living the Chaldean Eparchy of Beirut has established a recruitment office in the Center, that aims to connect these refugees with factories and institution owners that need qualified and unqualified labor, since most of the refugees work with very low salaries and in difficult work conditions. The center is also to connect the newly arrived refugees with other charitable institutions that are active on the Lebanese territories, so they could be able to benefit from all the advantages and donations on all the levels: alimentary, sanitary, educational and pastoral.
We are working today to equip this Center properly and hire qualified staff. The feasibility studies we conducted have shown that its annual expenses should be reaching fifty thousand American dollars (50,000$) yearly.
Hoping that you will respond to that humanitarian call for help and we are so sure that you are going to deploy any effort in order to help the poor and the needy people, please accept all our respect and consideration reiterating our greetings and our love for you.

† Mgr. Michel Kassarji
Bishopof the Chaldean Church ofLebanon

Statement of the Press conference of the Chaldean Eparchy of Beirut  
On Wednesday 16th December 2015

One year have already passed on the tragedy of uprooting the original Christian inhabitants of Mosul and the Nineveh Plain from their homeland by the hand of violence and death and this same suffering continues in Lebanon and even increases in the midst of the state paralysis, the presidential vacancy and the security turmoil swirling over our beloved country.
The needs of our Iraqi brothers, whose numbers change weekly as some are coming while others are being resettled by UNHCR, vary between the necessary daily life requirements and the most urgent ones, such as the needs for housing, hospitalization, medical care, and children’s education.
In spite of the support provided by humanitarian associations, our Iraqi brothers keep knocking on the doors of their respective churches in Lebanon and especially on the doors of the Chaldean Church in Lebanon, which keeps trying, in spite of the lack of permanent financial resources, to procure help and assistanceto the refugees on all levels.
The Chaldean Eparchy of Beirut had been able to establishsince the year 2011, with God’s help and charitable contributors, a Medical and Social Center, under the name of Saint Michel Medical Center in Sed El Baouchriyeh, which offers quasi-free most of the medical services. It encloses a big number of specializations in addition to the pharmacy and rooms for small surgeries, and it has contracts with different laboratories for blood tests. The Medical Center receives more than one hundred thirty (130) patients per day.
And on August this year (2015) we were able to establish a new center that takes care of the social, pastoral and other administrative services, in the region of Sed El Baouchriyeh, and we have given it the name of the Virgin Mary “Our Lady of the Divine Mercy”. This center takes in charge the reception, registration and counseling of the Iraqi and Syrian refugee families that have recently fled to Lebanon, as well as the new food and hygiene parcels distribution facility.
The Chaldean Eparchy of Beirut thanks all the benefactors who participated and still participate in helping the three thousand five hundred (3500) Iraqi refugee families living in Lebanon. We also thank from the bottom of our heart all the persons who are working hard with us in sustaining thousands of children, treating hundreds of sick people, and feeding numbers of needy ones … and especially to those who care to listen to their sufferings and wipe away their tears.
With the beginning of the of jubilee dedicated to the “Divine Mercy”, launched by His Holiness Pope Francis on the 8th of December, and the advent of Christmas festivities, the feast of mercy and sharing with the poor and needy; we ask  the Lebanese government to treat the Iraqi refugees, at least, on equal grounds as the ones from Syria. We raise the voice to ask people with good intentions to help us in insuring forty thousands (40000) food ration and tens of costly chirurgical surgeries and long term treatments … as the displacement tragedy continues with no hope ahead!
We ask God almighty to ensure to the Iraqi refugee children in Lebanon a bit of the joy of Christmas, to the elderly Iraqi his medication and medical treatment, to the Iraqi refugee families the minimum respectable daily living requirements … and in assisting them we can light the flame of Hope in their hearts and get rewarded by the heavenly blessing.

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