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  • FOCUS volunteers working with UNHCR delivering food, water, hygiene kits as well as mother and child kits.
Focus and AKDN contribute to helping Lebanese families in Syria

Damascus, Syria, 21 August 2006 – The Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) and its emergency response affiliate, Focus Humanitarian Assistance (FOCUS) provided immediate humanitarian relief in response to the conflict which affected hundreds of thousands in the Middle East.

At the peak of the Lebanon crisis, some 180,000 people sought temporary accommodation in and around the Syrian capital of Damascus. AKDN agencies and FOCUS established a Mother and Child Health Centre at Damascus University campus which provided specialist medical care, a pharmacy and a day care centre for young children. This facility accommodated 1,300 displaced persons; the majority of whom were mothers and young children. In addition, volunteer doctors and nurses addressed some needs of young children and adolescents, relating to counselling services and supporting psycho-social care activities.

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) facilitated this effort. In conjunction with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), AKDN and FOCUS established and managed relief distribution warehouses in the key locations of Tartous, Homs and Salamieh. The agencies also oversaw registration and profiling of displaced persons, and the distribution of non-food items. Furthermore, over 100 local community volunteers were mobilised to provide essential logistical support to the United Nation’s World Food Programme (WFP).

Volunteers distributed relief items including hygiene kits, plastic sheeting, blankets, mattresses, cooking utensils, safe drinking water and high-energy biscuits to assist families during the conflict and also on their return journey to Lebanon. Commenting from the field, Salim Sumar, Executive Officer of FOCUS Europe said, “Two key features have really stood out about this intervention; first is the generosity of the Syrian public and in particular, the many thousands of host families that provided shelter to the Lebanese families and second, the dedication of AKDN-FOCUS volunteers has been truly inspirational.”

For further information, please contact: Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) Syria Aleem Walji E-mail: E-mail: Focus Humanitarian Assistance (FOCUS) Salim Sumar E-mail: