Lost Family Portraits: meeting Souraya’s family

A great blog piece about the plight of Syrian refugees in the Bekka Valley in Lebanon from Nana Anto-Awuakye, CAFOD’s World News Manager. Today an international pledging conference is taking place in London to help find more funds for the millions of Syrian refugees displaced internally and outside of Syria who are desperately in need of extra help. Many thanks Nana.

CAFOD blog

Nana Anto-Awuakye is CAFOD’s World News Manager. She recently met families living in the Bekka refugee camp in Lebanon as part of CAFOD’s Lost Family Portaits project.

Nana with young refugee children Nana playing with some of the young children at Bekka refugee camp

Last Christmas, various family members snapped away on their latest mobile phone cameras, and we all dutifully posed for the camera. I asked for the unflattering photos of me to be deleted, my sister refused saying, “It’s Christmas, and we are all together.”

Only a few weeks earlier I was in Lebanon’s Bekka valley, just nine kilometres from the Syrian border. I was working with our partner Caritas Lebanon Migrant Centre, the photographer Dario Mitidieri, and the creative agency M&C Saatchi to photograph family portraits of Syrian refugees inside some of the informal camp settlements in the Bekka.

See the Lost Family Portraits

Our arrival with the photography crew creates an air…

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Freezing temperatures await refugees at the start of their Balkan journey

CAFOD is helping Syrian refugees in Lebanon and other countries in the Middle East, but it is also working with its partner organisations in Europe to care for vulnerable refugees searching for safety in Europe. Laura Ouseley, CAFOD’s World News Officer, travelled to Greece to find out how CAFOD’s partner, Caritas Hellas, is helping.

CAFOD blog

Laura Ouseley, CAFOD’s World News Officer, recently traveled to Greece to meet refugees attempting to continue their journey through Europe, and the Caritas partners working with them.

Laura Ouseley, CAFOD's World News Officer Laura Ouseley, CAFOD’s World News Officer, visited refugee camps in Greece.

As we drove up out of Thessaloniki, Greece’s second largest city, and headed north towards the border with Macedonia, snow-capped mountains gradually came into view, the temperature dropped, and the landscape became increasingly barren.

I was in northern Greece to meet refugees who had already risked their lives crossing the Aegean Sea in overloaded boats and were now attempting to continue their journey through Europe. They had all saved up, borrowed money or sold their possessions so that they could make this dangerous journey in search of a better, safer life. They had already traveled at least 20 days to get there. For some it had taken much longer.

Meet Syrian refugee families whose…

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Typhoon Haiyan Update from Fr Edu Gariguez

A man stands atop debris as residents salvage belongings from the ruins of their houses after Typhoon Haiyan battered Tacloban city in central Philippines November 10, 2013. One of the most powerful storms ever recorded has killed at least 10,000 people in the central Philippines province of Leyte, a senior police official said on Sunday, with coastal towns and the regional capital devastated by huge waves. Typhoon Haiyan destroyed about 70 to 80 percent of the area in its path as it tore through the province, said chief superintendent Elmer Soria, a regional police director. It not only brought wind gusts of around 275 kph (170 mph), it also caused a storm surge and whipped up waves of 5 to 6 metres (yards). REUTERS/Erik De Castro (PHILIPPINES - Tags: DISASTER ENVIRONMENT TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY) - RTX157B8

The devastation left after Typhoon Haiyan in the city of Tacloban

Typhoon Haiyan, which struck the Philippines on 8 November 2013, was one of the most powerful storms ever to hit land, winds reached over 160 mph. It tore apart the lives of more than 14 million people, destroying homes, schools and roads, and leaving entire communities with no way of making a living.

In the 18 months since, you have responded with amazing generosity, donating more than £5.5 million to our Philippines Typhoon appeal. Across England and Wales, schools and parishes held a huge variety of fundraising events. More than £1 million was raised here in the North West alone. Last week Fr Edwin (Edu) Gariguez visited Sacred Heart Parish in Blackburn to address CAFOD supporters from across the region and update them on the rebuilding process in the Philippines and thank them for their generous support. Fr Gariguez was welcomed and introduced by Bishop John Arnold, Bishop of Salford and Chair of the Board of CAFOD Trustees, who had visited the Philippines shortly after Typhoon Haiyan hit. Fr Gariguez is the Executive Secretary of NASSA (Caritas Philippines), CAFOD’s key partner for all its response to the devastation of Typhoon Haiyan. Continue reading