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Syria Crisis: Plight of refugees intensifies

Malteser International scales up aid in the region

Cologne, 24 January 2013

As the crisis in Syria and its neighbouring countries intensifies and the numbers of refugees and displaced continues to rise, Malteser International is preparing an expansion of its emergency response in the region. According to the United Nations, nearly four million Syrians are currently in need of aid. Malteser International will give continuation to its winter relief operations and plans to provide emergency aid to an additional 10,000 people in Syria, Turkey and Lebanon. Further distributions of heating ovens, medication and school materials will focus especially on the needs of women and children, who are the most vulnerable among the displaced population.

“The situation of refugees living with host families, as well as of unregistered refugees, is especially troubling,” says Thomas Molitor, emergency relief coordinator at Malteser International, who is currently visiting Malteser International’s project areas on the Syrian-Turkish border and preparing further relief measures.

Working with local partners, Malteser International has already provided aid to more than 20,000 Syrians in Syria, Turkey and Lebanon. The relief packages distributed included winter clothing and heating stoves, as well as household and hygiene items, including blankets, mattresses, kitchen utensils, soap, diapers and baby ointment. In addition, Malteser International has provided free medical treatment for Syrian refugees at a clinic in northern Lebanon. The German Federal Foreign Office has signalled its intention to continue supporting the relief measures.

Malteser International is the worldwide relief agency of the Sovereign Order of Malta for humanitarian aid. The organisation provides aid in about 100 projects in more than 20 countries without distinction of religion, race or political persuasion. Christian values and the humanitarian principles of impartiality and independence are the foundation of its work.

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The mission of the Order of Malta is inspired by its tradition of ‘Tuitio Fidei et Obsequium Pauperum', to assist the poor and the sick, and bear witness to the Christian faith.


The Sovereign Order of Malta is a sovereign subject of international law. The Order - which is based in Rome, in via Condotti - has its own Government, an independent magistracy, and bilateral diplomatic relations with 110 countries.


The Order of St John of Jerusalem is one of the oldest institutions of Western and Christian civilisation. Present in Palestine in around 1048, it is a lay religious Order, traditionally of military, chivalrous, noble nature.