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Custos of Holy Land implores help for Syrian Christians

Catholic World News - February 22, 2012

The Franciscan superior in several Middle Eastern nations is appealing for assistance for Syrian Christians devastated by civil unrest there.

“At a time of total confusion and dismay, many businesses, especially exporters and importers, have closed their doors,” said the Custos of the Holy Land, Father Pierbattista Pizzaballa. “Only bare traces remain of the thousands of tourists who until recently were the lifeblood of a modern and flourishing industry which had created hundreds of jobs in the transport, lodging and service sectors.”

“Agricultural production is also facing grave difficulties,” he added. “The international embargo prevents any possibility of exporting and prices have collapsed. The weakest elements of the population have inevitably been the hardest hit, and are suffering in particular from energy and water shortages. In the major cities there are power outages at various times during the day, if not for the entire day, and gasoline is rationed. All of this has created enormous difficulties for the population, who are forced to face the harsh winter temperatures with no means of heating their homes.”

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