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  • » 12/20/2013, 00.00


    Comboni Sister sees hope in the eyes of Syrian refugees

    Sister Adele Brambilla, a Comboni nun working at the Italian hospital in Karak (southern Jordan) describes the daily life of Syrian refugees. Thousands of families are camped with nothing to keep them warm in the cold winter. Diseases and cold are killing children. The smile on the face of a young mother holding her ​​baby breaks through the tragedy, bearing witness to the beauty of Christmas.

    Karak (AsiaNews) - "The smile of a mother holding her ​​new-born child is the best account of the meaning of Christmas in the tragedy of war," said Sister Adele Brambilla, a Comboni nun working at the Italian Hospital in Karak, southern Jordan, not far from a refugee camp holding more than 30,000 people.

    "Despite everything, hope is not dead," she told AsiaNews. "It is the refugees who are telling us that it is still alive. And those called to work together regardless of race, religion and belief are also holding it high so that human solidarity may still have a human face."

    When the Middle East was hit by a cold blast of winter on 11 December, 700 people crossed into Jordan, swelling the ranks of the 1.3 million refugees already in the country.

    Outside areas run by the UN and other international agencies, people can only wander the desert in search of shelter. Most come to Karak Hospital, the only one that can offer help and shelter as well as medical treatment.

    "Safaa and her family, including a number of children, fled from Homs to Damascus," Sister Adele said as she described the tragic life of Syrian refugees who cross the border to escape the war. "After shelling near her neighbourhood destroyed all hope to stay, she left headed for Jordan."

    "She was terrified by everything, unable to move by fear, especially for her children. She could not walk in the streets, go across a neighbourhood, or go shopping. Saafa was scared of doing anything, of dying in the shelling." Now she is in Karak with her children, but her story is not unique.  

    "When Marwa fled Syria she was pregnant, her first time. When she came to our hospital, she was almost in labour," Sister Adele said. After speaking to her, "she told us that she had just arrived after spending some time at the Zaatari camp."

    "We asked her why she undertook just an arduous and difficult journey. She said she wanted to deliver her baby in a safe environment where his life would not be in danger. For the nuns and the hospital volunteers, the smile on the face of this woman with her new-born was the best sign that hope was not dead."

    "Our hospital is a witness to this tragedy, which we can see every day in the eyes of those who come to us for medical help," Sister Adele said. "We can now see what cold and exposure can do to children suffering from diseases, fevers, or infections," the nun explained. "Even providing a bit of heating is becoming a problem since most families cannot afford gas cylinders, which are also risky," she added. "Yesterday, a butane cylinder blew up in a tent in the Zaartari camp, killing a father and his two sons."

    Yet, despair, hatred, and violence have not prevailed according to the Comboni nun. A meeting organised on Wednesday in Amman to promote an anti-polio campaign brought together various charities and welfare organisations, in a great show of cooperation and solidarity between people of different faiths.

    A project from Ader, a small parish in the south, was presented at the meeting. With the help of Caritas, it is providing help to mostly Muslims refugees who found shelter in the area.

    "Another example is our hospital, which provides shelter and assistance to all those who request it," the nun said. This way, "even Muslims who work for us can share our charity work."

    "There are many signs of openness and hope, the latest involving a muktar, a chief from an area just outside the town of Karak. Aware of our situation and of the usefulness of our work, he offered to drive us to visit some very poor Syrian families with sick members. "

    For Sister Adele, "These signs are our hope for Christmas, as God engages openly in dialogue with life, calling us all to do the same by opening our doors so that the coming Lord may dwell among us and find a home". (SC)

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    See also

    23/01/2013 JORDAN-SYRIA
    Comboni Sisters aid 10 thousand Syrian refugees in the Jordanian desert
    Fleeing the war they have walked hundreds of kilometers and are now in danger of dying of hunger, thirst and burns. Many refugees pregnant women and young mothers. The story of Sister Alessandra Fumagalli, an Italian Comboni and director of Karak Hospital. 150 km from Amman, the clinic is the only one able to provide help to these people. Sister Alessandra: "We want the world to know of their existence which is likely to go unnoticed"

    25/04/2013 SYRIA - JORDAN
    Karak, a Catholic hospital for the Syrians fleeing from war and refugee camps
    Located in the south of Jordan, the institute helps more than 30 thousand Syrians camped in the desert. Life in the UN camps on the border is now impossible, in a few months even the most essential aid will run out. Sister Adele Fumagalli, "we base our service on charity and we welcome these people who are struggling in silence."

    25/08/2012 SYRIA
    More than 200,000 Syrian refugees in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq
    United Nations commissioner updates refugee data. Many are underage or unaccompanied children. Turkey alone has 78,000 refugees, up from 44,000 at the end of July. As violence continues in Damascus and Aleppo, at least 70 were killed across the country in the past three days, 4,000 in the last three weeks.

    03/10/2012 SYRIA - MIDDLE EAST
    Car bombs in Aleppo. The Syrian war tolls
    One hotel and a military officers' club destroyed. Dozens dead or wounded. The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees expects the number of Syrian refugees to exceed 700,000 by the end of the year. Jordan is the country bearing the greatest load. The problems of winter. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, 31,000 have died in the civil war.

    18/02/2013 VATICAN - JORDAN
    Card Sarah to visit Syrian refugees in Jordan
    The president of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum and the Council's secretary will start their visit tomorrow until Thursday as part of the Caritas regional forum for the Middle East.

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