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Minister praises Sciaf's Syria work
The efforts of Scottish charities to respond to the humanitarian crisis in Syria have been praised by the International Development Secretary.
Justine Greening hailed the important relief work as she visited the Glasgow offices of the Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund (Sciaf).
The charity has raised more than £400,000 through an emergency appeal to help provide food, water, shelter, soap, blankets, heaters and medical care to thousands of refugees in Lebanon and Jordan who have fled the conflict in Syria.
Ms Greening said the work of Scottish charities form a key part of the UK's response to the humanitarian crisis.
"The crisis in Syria has reached catastrophic proportions, which is why the UK has launched its biggest-ever humanitarian response. Crucially, it has been a team effort across our whole country to make sure those who have lost everything get the help that they need.
"The important work I have seen at Sciaf will make a huge difference to thousands of people struggling to survive. The efforts of charities across Scotland are central to our message to the Syrian people and their neighbours that they can count on the continuing support from all parts of the UK."
Sciaf said it is to contribute £250,000 of emergency humanitarian aid in Lebanon where at least a million refugees from Syria are now thought to be living.
It has been providing aid to Syrian refugees through the Caritas international confederation of Catholic charities since December. This has involved giving out food vouchers, clothes and accommodation as well as support for medical care and trauma counselling for refugees and their hosts in Jordan.
The latest financial commitment to refugees allowed Sciaf to extend its work to Lebanon which has been under huge pressure since the uprising against the Assad regime began in Syria in March 2011.
Sciaf is also delivering programmes on behalf of the Department for International Development (Dfid) in an attempt to improve the lives of 3,200 women affected by conflict and poverty in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda, and the lives of 6,500 disabled people in South Sudan.
Sciaf's head of international programmes, Lorraine Currie, said: "Through the global Caritas network of Catholic agencies, and as a result of the overwhelming donations from people across Scotland, Sciaf has been able to provide life-saving support and resources where they are needed most in Lebanon and Jordan.
"We were also able to discuss with the Secretary of State our relationship with Dfid which over many years has helped Sciaf support some of the poorest and most vulnerable people around the world build a better life for themselves and their families."