Irish Jesuits International has launched an appeal to help those impacted by the devastating earthquakes in Syria on Monday, 6 February 2023. You can phone 00 353 1 8366509 or click here to donate.
Irish Jesuit Tony O’Riordan SJ is based in Syria and reports that the community of three Jesuits in Aleppo fled their house after the first earthquake and joined the other residents outside in the freezing cold through Monday night.
Tony travelled to Aleppo to lead the JRS needs assessment and early response to the tragedy. “Sustaining life and health is our immediate priority, and we will seek to reopen our health clinics once buildings are cleared by engineers,” he says, adding, “We will continue to ramp up our support of basic protection again the cold and elements for people unable to return home. Helping people remain resilient mentally will be a second priority”
Many houses have collapsed and Tony says people are refusing to return to their homes out of fear of other earthquakes. The Jesuits have opened up their building in Aziziyé to people looking for shelter as it is a well-built house.
Other JRS staff in Syria report significant damage in Aleppo, with collapsed or uninhabitable hospitals, lack of electricity, and broken or very difficult connections. People are shaken and frightened, they say, as they reaffirm that JRS “Remains in solidarity with the people of Syria who have long been suffering because of the war and socio-economic consequences, with millions of displaced people. As the weight of multiple traumas makes the future seem daunting, we pray that the Syrian people may soon find healing and peace.”
They have appealed to people to please make a donation, “And help our Syrian brothers and sisters endure this new tragedy. Your generosity will help our staff continue to support thousands of Syrians who have lost their homes and loved ones. Thank you!”
The Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) Syria was founded in 2008 in response to the growing number of Iraqi refugees. With the outbreak of the civil war in 2011, JRS Syria expanded its mandate and began serving internally displaced Syrians with health services, education, child protection, livelihood training, and emergency aid.
Irish Jesuit Tony O’Riordan (Country Director of JRS Syria) is leading the Jesuits response to the crisis in Aleppo.