Pope sends aid to quake-struck Turkey and Syria: ‘Don’t forget those who suffer’

Pope Francis sends aid to earthquake-struck communities in Syria and Turkey, through the Dicastery for the Service of Charity.

By Benedetta Capelli

Following the catastrophe caused by the earthquakes that struck Syria and Turkey on 6 February, Pope Francis appealed for closeness and concrete support to alleviate the pain of those who are suffering from the disaster.

Nine days after the powerful earthquakes, the rising death toll has topped 41,000. Millions of people have been left without a home and a livelihood.

While the Pope issued his appeal during Sunday’s Angelus, he too put words into action through the Dicastery for the Service of Charity.

Crates of aid for quake affected people in Syria and Turkey at the Port of Naples

Crates of aid for quake affected people in Syria and Turkey at the Port of Naples

Alongside Turkey and Syria

Crates of aid departed from the Port of Naples on Wednesday morning aboard the MSC Aurelia Cargo ship that is scheduled to dock in Iskenderum, Turkey in two days’ time.

As well as aid from the Italian government and other NGOs, the ship carries 10,000 thermal jumpers delivered personally by Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, the Papal Almoner.

The thermal garments are destined for the Kilis refugee camp in Turkey, 50 km from Gaziantep and 60 km from the Syrian city of Aleppo.

The distribution of aid will be entrusted to operators of the Rava Foundation, which has been present in the area for some time and provides food and shelter to thousands of homeless people.

Following the outbreak of war in Syria, the camp has expanded to accommodate some 60,000 refugees, but it is also home to many others who live in makeshift tents. As expected, the earthquake has aggravated the situation and hundreds of people are joining the refugee families.

Boxes of thermal garments for earthquake survivors

As far as Syria is concerned, Cardinal Krajewski said the aid sent by the Pope through the Dicastery for the Service of Charity, is in the form of economic aid entrusted to the Apostolic Nunciature.

It will be deployed in the territory to support a population that is already exhausted by years of war and whose suffering is now compounded by the consequences of the devastating earthquake.