Middle East has greatest humanitarian crisis since WWII

Conflict in Iraq, Syria and Gaza has led to the greatest humanitarian crisis the world has seen since World War II, a senior cardinal says.

Caritas Internationalis president Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga told a Rome conference on Monday that there are 13 million Syrians in desperate need.

More than four million Iraqis and Syrians are refugees in their own countries, he said.

Gaza has seen 10,000 homes and 70 per cent of its factories destroyed this summer, the cardinal added.

“As part of the humanitarian community, we are confronted with the greatest crisis the world has faced since the Second World War,” he said.

Cardinal Maradiaga urged governments to seek a negotiated solution to the conflicts rather than a military one.

He also called for the end of the Israeli blockade of Gaza and a return to the borders recognised in 1967.

He said countries beyond Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey should accept their “fair share” of refugees from Syria and Iraq.

The cardinal said that governments “must agree to a total cessation of arms transfers to the Middle East countries engulfed by conflict,” noting that some countries providing arms were even members of the UN Security Council.

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