Thanks to the donations of many people, it has been possible to implement interventions to alleviate the suffering of populations affected by natural disasters or wars.

The Focolare Emergency Committee has provided an update on the fundraising efforts for places affected by conflicts, epidemics and environmental disasters such as floods or earthquakes that may severely affect entire populations with immediate and long-term effects. To address these serious situations, the Emergency Committee was established to launch fundraising initiatives to assist the affected populations through programs supported by members of the Focolare or Focolare-affiliated organizations worldwide, operating independently or in partnership with others.

Recently, the Emergency Committee presented its 2023 Report, revealing that, from 2016 to the end of 2023, a total of €5,361,505 has been raised for emergencies in Syria, Turkey, Ukraine, Italy, Pakistan and the Philippines.

In Syria, the “Seeds of Hope” project, which began in September 2018, provided socio-medical assistance to families, access to essential medicines, healthcare services and basic surgery for patients with chronic diseases as well as educational support for children and adolescents. So far, 23,170 people have benefited from the program.

6,273 people were assisted in various ways following the earthquake in Syria and Turkey, which took place in February 2023. This included financial assistance to 405 families, distribution of detergents to 490 families and of food and clothing to 712 families, along with psychological support for the elderly, adults and young people and medical assistance. In addition, Work Empowerment initiatives (enhancing individual employment efforts with microcredit incentives) were provided to 16 families and 32 people along with housing interventions for 138 families. A community livestock project was also set up to supply milk and generate income for families in a Turkish village inhabited by Afghan refugees.

In Ukraine, the emergency situation continues to evolve as the conflict persists and the multiple needs of the population increase. Since the beginning of the war, basic health care has been provided for about 12,000 people and extraordinary economic support has been extended to over 2,000 families. Several projects to welcome and accommodate displaced families and children from Ukraine have taken place in Italy. Furthermore, a school-camp was established in Austria for 30 children from a primary school in Kiev and a protected day centre for children and mothers was inaugurated.

Another emergency this year was the flooding that affected various regions of the world. During the floods in Pakistan, construction materials were provided for the restoration of 20 destroyed homes and support was given to 1,150 people. During the 2023 floods in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy, assistance was provided to 16 families for the purchase or repair of damaged material possessions and renovations were carried out in the homes of 7 families. In addition, a work camp and the renovation of an educational farm were realized.

The Emergency Committee of the Focolare Movement manages these projects through AMU (Action for a United World) and AFN (Action for New Families), two NGOs born in the Focolare Movement that operate in the social sphere.

Fundraising efforts for emergencies in Ukraine and following the earthquake in Syria and Turkey are ongoing.

Carlos Mana

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