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Catholic Relief Services pledges $10 M for Middle East

.- Catholic Relief Services (CRS) announced plans for a $10-million emergency response and long-term reconstruction program for Gaza, northern Israel and Lebanon as a result of the one-month war between Israel and Hezbollah.

CRS is working with local partners, Caritas Lebanon and Caritas Jerusalem, to provide life-saving supplies for immediate needs and post-ceasefire recovery efforts. Caritas Lebanon has 36 offices, nine health centers and eight mobile medical clinics throughout the country, which are being manned by staff and 2,000 volunteers.

Since Israel launched its attack on Lebanon July 12, more than 900,000 Lebanese people have been displaced—nearly 25 percent of the total population. To date, CRS and Caritas Lebanon have aided more than 85,000 displaced people and are expected to assist more than 100,000 evacuees.

Many displaced people taking refuge in gardens, schools, churches, convents, mosques, bombed-out buildings, storage places and cars. They are depending on the assistance of humanitarian organizations to survive.

Food, water, hygiene kits, clothing, cleaning materials, mattresses, baby food and diapers are being distributed daily.

There are also more than 100,000 migrant workers in Lebanon who are having difficulty returning to their native countries. The Caritas Lebanon Migrant Centre has provided thousands of migrants and refugees with basic supplies, medical assistance, psychological and moral support, as well as legal and repatriation counsel. The center is working with the Sri Lankan, Ethiopian and Philippines embassies to evacuate their nationals.

CRS is also assisting people displaced in northern Israel through contributions to the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee and the American Jewish Committee.

In Gaza, Caritas Jerusalem is working to help the 1.4 million Palestinians, half of them children. Shortages of electricity, fuel, food, water, medicine, and medical equipment have reached critical levels. Housing and infrastructure are heavily damaged and inefficient wastewater treatment plants have led to major public health concerns.

Last week, CRS delivered 450 packages of food and hygiene items to families in Gaza and 950 packages to refugee camps.

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