DEC Coronavirus appeal raises £10 million in first week – helping charities like CAFOD to respond as first cases reported in Northern Syria



This week, thanks to the generosity of the UK public, the Disaster Emergency Committee – of which CAFOD is a member – Coronavirus Appeal has raised an incredible £10 million to help those living in the most fragile states.

The DEC Coronavirus Appeal will help the most vulnerable people in six of the world’s most fragile states: Yemen and Syria; Somalia, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo; and Afghanistan.

Donate now

In Syria, our local partners on the ground are reporting urgent concerns about the risks of the virus spreading, as vulnerable people are unable to take the basic measures to protect themselves. Mustafa, 28, a frontline worker supported by CAFOD, lives in a camp outside Idlib with displaced people.He explained how they are preparing for what he calls ‘an explosion of coronavirus’ in the camps. He said:

“My heart is beating so hard; we are expecting an explosion of coronavirus in the camps. The coming days are really critical for us.Doctors are preparing for the spread of the virus. People live in large overcrowded settlements in tents with maybe 12 people and no access to clean water. It will be a catastrophe. Disaster. Please help them.”

Donate to the DEC Coronavirus Appeal now



Of the 111 public hospitals in Syria, only 57 public hospitals (64%) are fully functioning. There is a considerable shortage of trained staff and a high turnover rate, reducing capacity to manage cases. Up to 70% of health workers have already left the country.Despite the many challenges presented by the pandemic, CAFOD, many of the DEC’s 14 member charities, are already present and working in refugee and displacement camps.Through our local experts, we are focusing on essential humanitarian services while ensuring the health and safety of staff, volunteers and communities are prioritised.

Our local experts are giving emergency support and essential hygiene kits and continuing to homeless families who are within Syria itself but also in Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Turkey.

Find out more about our Syria crisis response and please continue to pray for peace in Syria

Staff at St Bede’s Primary School explore the plight of refugees.

St Bede's Staff

St Bede’s Staff

Many thanks to Linda Heneghan our school volunteer for the Reading area for exploring the plight of refugees with staff from St Bede’s Primary in Basingstoke . They took part in a CAFOD workshop called “On the Move” which simulates the situation of refugees who have to leave their homes at short notice because of war or violence. Part of the workshop explores discussing which items you would take with you if you only had 10 minutes to pack a bag, and then reflecting on whether these would be the best items to take afterwards. The workshop gives a real insight into the difficulties refugees face when they are forced to leave their homes and travel to safety.

Staff at St Bede's

Staff at St Bede’s

Our school volunteers work in Primary and Secondary schools across the diocese delivering assemblies and workshops about CAFOD’s work. We are always looking for more school volunteers so if you are interested please contact  or call 01252 329385

St Joseph’s Primary Aldershot explore the experiences of refugees.

St Joseph's Primary Aldershot

St Joseph’s Primary Aldershot

Hello to St Joseph’s Catholic Academy in Aldershot and many thanks for welcoming our  CAFOD school visitor Matt White to your school last week. We hope you enjoyed the “On the Move ”  and “Special Places” workshops which explored the plight of refugees.

During the workshops the children had to make decisions about the things they would take with them if they had to leave home quickly.  As the workshop progresses they then have to decide what things to keep and what things to ditch on their journey to safety.

St Joseph's pupils making decisions

St Joseph’s pupils making decisions

The workshops simulate the kind of situations that a refugee might find themselves in . The children gain an insight into the decisions that refugees have to make when forced to leave their homes.

Deciding on what to take with them .

Deciding on what to take with them .

Thank you to all the children who took part so enthusiastically in the workshops and to Matt White for visiting the school.