Home | About Us | Subscriptions | Advertising | El Centinela
Catholic Sentinel | Portland, OR Wednesday, May 4, 2016
CYO Football 2015 2015 Priest Reassignments, Archdiocese of Portland Cardinal Francis George dies Mothering with faith Sisters of the Holy Names, 2015 Live Nativity at St. John the Baptist 2014 Fall CYO results Catholic Charities Donor Lunch 2014 Year of Consecrated Life opening Mass Holy Spirit Sisters Jubilee 2014 Seaside youth conference Mount Angel 125th Northwest Hub Furlow at papal Mass 2014 Rosary Bowl NW Brother André 2014 Fall 40 Days for Life 2014 Inauguration of Fr. Mark Poorman Coffee shop at abbey First day of school, 2014 Regis High School 50th anniversary 2014 Crooked Finger Pilgrimage Mass with migrant farm workers Maronite Ordination Consecration to "Immaculate Heart of Our Lady of Fatima" CYO track Southern Oregon Evangelization 2014 Priest Ordination Christ the King youth 2014 priest reassignments Our Lady of Lavang Confirmation, 2014 Memorial Day 2014 2014 Transitional deacon ordination Padre Foster Granados visits Albany Bishop Smith ordination Canonization of Pope John Paul II, Pope John XXIII Bishop Peter Smith 2014 Easter Vigil 2014 Walk of Cross 2014 Chrism Mass CYO basketball 2014 St. Patrick of the Forest 150th Catholic Charities Celebration of Hope, 2014 Boys2Men Archbishop visits Oregon State Penitentiary 40 Day Vigil for Life, 2014 Pope Francis creates new cardinals St. Henry shelter 2014 CYO swimming Funeral of Fr. George Wolf Travel on a budget Lunar New Year, 2014 Tech in Catholic schools 2014 Right to Life Rally Archbishop visits Santiam Prison First Mass in Oregon Milwaukie Posada St. Francis, Sherwood, Toy Drive Central Catholic football Typhoon Haiyan Deacon Ordination/ Kresbach, Schmitt A Catholic fisherman St. Cecilia Centennial Southern Oregon Welcome Mass Shepherd of the Valley, Central Point, dedication Grotto Anniversary 2013 Champions of Faith Dinner Gardenripe farms Coleman hop farm Corvallis Year of Faith Archbishop Howard at St. Rose Hitchhiking priests Franciscan Spiritual Center Sacred Heart, Medford Migrant Mass Tanzanians' jubilee World Youth Day 2013 2013 Blessing of the Animals 2013 Freedom Mass Albany school closure Fabric art Megan graduates from Catholic school St. Vincent de Paul Hillsboro 2013 Deacon ordination Sister Theresa Lamkin St. Helen Mission, Brownsville Marist Brainiacs St. Mary, Eugene St. Francis eighth graders Ascension confirmation 2013 Pastoral Ministry Conference St. Joseph Salem — Year of Faith Archbishop Sample's Installation Mass 2013 Archbishop Sample Chrism Mass 2013 2013 Young Catholics Pope Francis inauguration Celebration of Hope Vlazny Farewell Mass Archbishop Vlazny Farewell St. Paul Church in St. Paul Valley Catholic Green Building Rite of Election 2013 Water summit 2013 Lunar New Year Alveda King in Eugene New Monsignors, 2013 2013 Right to Life Rally MLK Mass, 2013 St. Henry, Gresham, Centennial Jesuit High drama School uniforms Friar in the mall Holy Trinity food ministry January Book Covers St. Andre Bessette food Year of Faith Mass Nestucca Sanctuary Hillsboro Choirs Father Betschart installation Salem Religious Freedom Rally Year of Faith Vespers, Awards Roy's Catholic School Adelante Mujeres 10th anniversary New Blanchet House Missionaries of Holy Spirit Priest, religious photos Providence Nursing Schools Pioneros Fortnight for Freedom Mark Bentz Deacon Ordination OLL School Walk Through Gaga over science St. Philip Neri Centennial Ordination of Bishop Cary SVDP, Grants Pass Holy Cross School centennial Confirmation - Mount Angel Holy Land Pilgrimage Blanchet Watershed Chrism Mass, 2012 Bishop-designate Cary Pope in Cuba, 2012 SSMO 125th Jubilee Mass Pope Benedict in Mexico 2012 Catholic Charities Celebration 2012 Madeleine Mardi Gras Centennial Rally for Life, 2012 Martin Luther King Jr. Mass 2012 Day Laborers-Guadalupe Guadalupe 2011 Christ the King, Milwaukie, 50th Sesame Doughnuts Central Catholic Volleyball St. Peter Centennial Deacon Ordination, October 2011 St. Agatha Centennial Rosary Bowl 2011 St. Wenceslaus, Scappoose, Centennial Filipino celebration Polish Festival 2011 Holy War Football 2011 World Youth Day 2011 Sun Gold Farm Our Lady of Victory's New Church Freedom Mass 2011 St. Mary Church Steeple Removal Priest reassignments, 2011 Old Catholic Buildings Paige Rice, St. Mary's runner Graduation 2011 Easter vigils 2011 Pastoral Ministry Conference Basketball Holy War 2011 Search for Peace 2011

Mt Angel Towers 8.13

Home : News : Nation and World
Ongoing global humanitarian crises bring their own challenges
AP photo
Syrian refugee camps in Jordan.
AP photo
Syrian refugee camps in Jordan.
Catholic News Service


WASHINGTON — Much has been said about the sheer enormity of the humanitarian crisis created by Syria's brutal civil war -- 100,000 are dead, 6.5 million people are displaced inside Syria and nearly 2.5 million have fled the country -- but in other ways as well, the situation presents atypical challenges.

In a Senate hearing Jan. 7 and a panel discussion at the Brookings Institution Jan. 9, experts from humanitarian agencies spelled out the extent of the needs in Syria and elsewhere in 2013 and tried to forecast the demands of 2014. Fighting in South Sudan and the Central African Republic have pushed those two countries to the list of urgent situations, for example, and ongoing efforts to help victims of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines continue to be critical.

Sophie Delaunay, executive director of Doctors Without Borders USA, said Syria presents the medical aid organization with the unusual situation of having had a modern medical system that now lies in ruins.

"This is a country where the health system was quite sophisticated," Delaunay said at the Brookings event. While Doctors Without Borders is accustomed to coping with malaria and other tropical diseases in crisis-stricken countries, Syria was a highly developed country where diabetes and cancer were the significant public health concerns. With the medical care system in tatters, aid organizations have had to step in to provide a different type of care than usual.

Add to that the thousands of people suffering from the effects of chemical weapons used in a Damascus suburb last year and the medical organization has had to rework its usual strategy of aiding victims of a civil war, she said.

"Our machinery was not prepared to deal with that," Delaunay said.

In prepared testimony for the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing two days earlier, Nancy Lindborg, assistant administrator for Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance at the U.S. Agency for International Development, explained some of the challenges in trying to reach all those displaced Syrians. Lack of security, blocked access and insufficient resources mean that "despite a massive mobilization of assistance and funding, international aid has not reached 2.5 million people inside Syria," Lindborg said.

Fighting, security checkpoints and access routes deliberately cut off to humanitarian aid create what she called, "an unconscionable campaign of starvation."

Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., chairman of the Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights, said in a statement to the committee that in a visit last year to Kilis, a refugee camp for Syrians in Turkey, he was especially struck by the plight of children, adding that "a generation of Syrian children is at risk."

He said more than 11,000 children have been killed, including hundreds who have been shot by snipers or summarily executed.

"There are 1.1 million Syrian refugee children, 70 percent under the age of 12. Sixty percent of these children are not attending school. One in 10 Syrian refugee children are working to support their families, including some as young as 7 years old," he explained. "Thousands of children are unaccompanied or separated from their parents. And we have heard troubling reports of boy refugees being recruited as combatants and girl refugees being forced into early marriages."

Durbin quoted one medical expert who had been examining underweight refugee children: "'We have a middle income country that is transforming itself into something a lot more like Somalia,'" Durbin's statement said. "Aid workers report that signs are posted at regime checkpoints that say, 'kneel or starve.' This is a deplorable war crime and it must be stopped."

At the Brookings panel, Iain Levine, deputy executive director of programs for Human Rights Watch, said in another crisis situation, the escalation of violence in South Sudan should have been anticipated.

"They missed the warning signs, or at least didn't respond to growing tensions there," Levine said.

In the last month, tribe-on-tribe violence has killed more than 1,000 people and driven 180,000 from their homes, according to The Associated Press.

The AP Jan. 9 quoted Linda Thomas-Greenfield, assistant secretary for African Affairs at the State Department, as saying, "Each day that the conflict continues, the risk of all-out civil war grows."

Levine said that although the United Nations has stepped up quickly, agreeing to send 5,500 peacekeepers into South Sudan, the violence went too far because other nations "apparently didn't respond to human rights violations because they didn't want to criticize a new government too much." South Sudan became independent three years ago.

Speakers at the Brookings event and the Senate hearing tried to give a sense of what to expect in those and other hotspots in the coming year, and several expressed concerns about aid organizations being able to keep up the huge financial commitments necessary to support such vast populations of needy people.

Lindborg told the Senate committee that a donors' conference in mid-January in Kuwait will "press donors to give generously, including those that do not typically respond to these appeals." She said the United States has contributed $1.3 billion in humanitarian aid to Syria since the conflict began there several years ago.

In addition to medical needs and food, displaced people inside Syria and Syrian refugees in adjacent countries need basic infrastructure including water and sewer services, housing, schools and jobs, the witnesses said.

As to how to keep the world's attention focused on long-running conflicts and the needs they generate, Levine repeated a story he'd been told by a friend.

The friend, an expert on Rwanda who was immersed in 1994 in trying to get the world to respond to the genocide underway there, had a meeting with Anthony Lake, then-national security adviser to President Bill Clinton. After failing to persuade him to support sending U.S. troops into Rwanda, the friend asked him, "How do I convince you?" His reply, said Levine, was "make my phone ring off the hook."

Today, Levine said, "the principle is the same," though the tools may be different. Besides making officials' phones ring, he encouraged people to be vigilant about emailing and using social media to keep attention on troubled areas.

"There are 500,000 videos on YouTube documenting the crisis in Syria," he said. "We have an amazing capacity these days ... to tell stories, shape the narrative and influence policymakers."





Article Comment Submissions
Submit your comments, please. 
 
Comments are reviewed before being posted to the site. Comments must use respectful language and address the story. Comments are not posted immediately to the site. The site editor may edit content for appropriateness. There may be a delay of 24-48 hours. Comments may also be considered to appear as letters in our print edition, unless the writer specifices no.
 
Note: All information on this form is required. Your telephone number is for our use only, and will not be attached to your comment.
Submit an Article Comment
First Name:
Required
Last Name:
Required
Telephone:
Required
Email:
Required
Comment:
Required
Passcode:
Required
Anti-SPAM Passcode Click here to see a new mix of characters.
This is an anti-SPAM device. It is not case sensitive.
   


Advanced Search













Mary Jo Tully ~ The Path to Resurrection

News | Viewpoints | Faith & Spirituality | Parish and School Life | Entertainment | Obituaries | Find Churches and Schools | About Us | Subscriptions | Advertising
E-Newsletter | RSS Feeds

© 2016 Catholic Sentinel, a service of Oregon Catholic Press

Software © 1998-2016 1up! Software, All Rights Reserved