By Kathleen Ziffo (From Seeds Issue 99 – November 2020)
Previously, AUC members collected warm winter clothes, toiletries and children’s educational supplies for Edinburgh Direct Aid (EDA) to deliver to Syrian refugees living high in the mountains in the Lebanese town of Arsal.
This year, EDA is asking for financial aid instead of collections of goods, which they can no longer deliver in quantity. One EDA lorry which set off from Edinburgh late in 2019 failed to reach Arsal until August 2020, having to pay the Lebanese government over £11,000 in taxes, which was (and continues to be) slapped on imported goods, including all humanitarian donated items! Lebanon now has the highest proportion of refugees per head of population of any country in the world! (One to two million, alongside an existing population of five to six million.)
Life has become very difficult for everyone; an inept government, with political and religious infighting, combined with corruption, has led to rampant hyperinflation and a breakdown of much civil society. Add to this, the Covid-19 pandemic which is severely damaging the population’s health and provision of healthcare.
Refugees no longer have any savings and cannot afford rents. Most have lost accommodation, living again in makeshift tents with no electricity and little water.
To stave off starvation, the German ‘Green Helmet’ charity is working alongside EDA to supply food aid, while EDA’s existing education and work programmes continue. (They make PPE for local medical staff now!)
The explosions at Beirut docks in August caused catastrophic devastation and loss of life. NGOs bringing aid into Beirut initially encountered no coordination of remedial work, but this is changing.
EDA is now helping make habitable some damaged Beirut homes before winter, by fitting up windows and doors; being aided by some of the Syrian refugees from Arsal, themselves recipients of help!
- Phone 0131 552 1545
- Send a cheque, payable to ‘Edinburgh Direct Aid’ to:
Edinburgh Direct Aid,
29 Starbank Road,
Please indicate ‘Pandemic’ or Emergency’, etc.
If you are eligible, please indicate that you can ‘Gift Aid’. (Funds under these headings may be used in Idlib or other areas where Syrian refugees are in need.)
- Bank Transfer information for EDA (Charity No. SCO21007) is available here
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