City appeal launched to help war refugees

An injured girl receives treatment at a field hospital in Syria. Pic: Reuters/Wsam Almokdad
An injured girl receives treatment at a field hospital in Syria. Pic: Reuters/Wsam Almokdad
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A FESTIVE campaign has been launched in the Capital to help families across the world who are on the run from war.

The Mercy Corps and Edinburgh Disaster Response Committee appeal will highlight the plight of millions of families around the world who have fled their homes to escape conflict and violence.

As Christmas approaches, many families in Syria and South Sudan have nothing, and the “urgent” appeal aims to supply shelter, food, water and hygiene kits.

It also plans to establish basic sanitation services and set up safe places for children to play.

Ali MacLeod, director of fundraising at Mercy Corps, launched the Christmas appeal today and urged people across the Capital to dig deep and donate to the cause.

She said: “This is an urgent appeal to the people of Edinburgh.

“We need your help to get life-saving aid to millions of people on the run from war. For many, winter is coming and life is hard.

“Many of these families have nothing. We appeal to everyone to support Edinburgh’s international charity and give this Christmas.”

In Syria, ten million people have left everything they have behind and many will spend this winter freezing in tents in neighbouring countries.

Meanwhile, in South Sudan, two million people have been forced from their villages and will be sheltering in camps as conflict resumes after the rainy season.

Lord Provost Donald Wilson said he expected big-hearted residents of the Capital to respond in their numbers to help those less fortunate at this time of year.

Councillor Wilson said: “Edinburgh at Christmas is renowned the world over, and the festive season is a chance for those of us lucky enough to live in the city to consider what life is like in other parts of the world.

“Millions of people will be entering the New Year in fear, hunger, and without shelter.

“This appeal is for Edinburgh to offer support and funding for those communities most in need, so that 2015 may be a brighter year.

“People in this city have a long and proud tradition of reaching out to those in less fortunate circumstances, and I am confident they will act with the same compassion and generosity this winter.”

The Edinburgh Disaster Response Committee was established in 2009 by the city council and Mercy Corps and works with other organisations in the Capital to co-ordinate fundraising efforts across Edinburgh and to help those in situations of emergency or humanitarian disaster.

Other members are Edinburgh University, Edinburgh Volunteer Centre, Edinburgh Voluntary Organisations’ Council, NHS Lothian, Police Scotland and the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce.

Last month, the Evening News told how Mercy Corps was helping to lead the fight against Ebola after launching a mass public education campaign in Liberia.

The charity hopes to reach two million people with vital information in how to try to protect themselves against the deadly disease. It will work with partners to train 1000 volunteers in the country who will mobilise 2500 community task forces, made up of 50,000 trusted community members.

n Donate online at or by texting EDIN14 and the amount to 70070.