Caritas NZ helping meet needs of Syrian refugees in Lebanon

‘Urgent help is needed to assist refugees as well as those affected within the country,’ says Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand Director Julianne Hickey.

‘Caritas will also be there to help Syrians recover and rebuild, when – we pray – peace is re-established.’

While the immediate threat of escalation of the Syrian crisis has eased, the intense civil war within Syria continues to kill, injure and drive people out.

About one third of the Syrian population has been forced from their homes, and more than two million have registered as refugees in neighbouring countries.

‘Unofficially the figure is much higher,’ says Mrs Hickey. ‘Our partner Caritas Lebanon estimates that more than 1.2 million have fled to their country, where a population the same size as New Zealand is hosting them in a land area less than that of Northland.

Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand is helping Caritas Lebanon in a third phase of response to the crisis, to cover gaps and meet the needs of the most vulnerable people. While about half of all Syrian refugees are children, a recent report by the Caritas Lebanon Migrant Centre has highlighted the specific needs of the elderly.

Many suffer from hypertension, diabetes and heart disease, and cannot afford the medication they require. They tend to eat less food so that younger family members can have better meals, but making themselves more ill.

Caritas Lebanon President Fr Simon Faddoul says, ‘They are our grandfathers and grandmothers, our uncles and aunts, and we owe it to them in this time to care for their needs, as they have cared for ours as we were growing up.’

Mobility is a critical issue for older refugees, yet many of the older persons find moving around difficult, and it has dramatic effects on their overall well-being. Huda’s experience below provides an insight.

More photographs

To donate to the Caritas Syria Regional Crisis Appeal:

  • Donate online using a credit card at; or
  • Phone 0800 22 10 22 (office hours) to donate by credit card; or
  • Phone 0900 4 11 11 to automatically donate $20 from your phone account; or
  • Post a cheque to Caritas, PO Box 12193, Thorndon, Wellington 6144, New Zealand


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News category: New Zealand.

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