the Pope’s appeal on Sunday 15 February to the Angelus gave us so much consolation. We have heard how close the Pope is, lives and suffers with us here in Aleppo, reminding the world of the dramatic situation that the Syrian people have lived for more than 9 years.
As I heard the Pope talking about the little girl who has been killed by the bitter cold in Syria these days, I couldn’t help thinking of the hundreds, and perhaps thousands, of the children and the elderly who die from the lack of fuel, electricity and health services, and food. This happened and still happens today, not only in Idlib, but also in Aleppo and in various other parts of our beloved country. During these difficult years of war, we have always tried to offer as much as possible in different aids: food, housing, health and psychological care but above all, spiritual support to strengthen faith in God who does not abandon his creatures. Our steps, however, regarding aid projects, due to the Lebanese crisis and beyond, slowed down until they stopped in January 2020.
In the city of Aleppo, the weather of this very harsh winter seems to line up against us. I can confirm what the Holy Father said about the cold. In fact, in the second half of January, the cold that came this year was harder than the winter of past years, until we defined it as “the most atrocious monster” that tortures people. If it allies with the lack of electricity, gas and diesel, and the lack of work in the city now economically paralyzed, the agony of the people becomes terrible.
So we immediately distributed to poor families a sum that allowed him to buy 100 liters of fuel. After less than two weeks, observing the continuous suffering of all the families that have now become poor and no longer self-sufficient, we distributed another financial aid to provide for the need to warm up.
Despite all the help, we know that our rescue intervention does not solve the problem that still persists regarding the terrible cold. Indeed, we are aware that what we offer is only a drop in the sea of their needs. “May the Lord help the poor”, we use to say in our Arabic language, when suffering affects people. In our case, in Aleppo, where all people suffer, I have repeated so much in these years: “that the Lord be of help to all the people”.
We thank the Holy Father for his tenderness and concern, while we continue our fight against the evil of cold, hunger, the lack of any source of energy.
Faith, hope and charity warm our hearts and divine Providence that moves the hearts of many of our benefactors, will certainly not abandon us. In fact, if we have been able to distribute economic aid to buy 100 liters of diesel per family, and if we have resumed, albeit slowly, food and medical care, and we have resumed aid for children and adults, all is thanks to so many benefactors who welcome us and open their hearts to listening to our cry.
Earlier this year, we thought we could stop all emergency projects for people who would not need our help. Faced with the needs and sufferings that have not been lacking, here we have felt obliged to continue these projects, because we see with our own eyes the enormous needs and how people cannot manage to live. A flood of people come knocking on our parish door, humbly asking for any kind of help. Among them, there are many widows with children, many elderly people without any support, and many families …
Your help during this Lent will serve precisely this purpose, to help all these poor people.