NEW YORK — With the worsening political turmoil in Syria, the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU) has announced a major fundraising campaign to help the Armenian community there, including Aleppo, Damascus, Homs, Kamishli and Latakia, as well as other cities with Armenian populations. Months of fighting and instability have left an otherwise lively and prosperous community facing the loss of homes and businesses, with some even suffering personal injuries; fatalities have also been reported. Hundreds of Armenian families have been forced to relocate within Syria or to the neighboring countries and Armenia. While already providing critical humanitarian assistance through its District Committee of Syria and its local chapters, AGBU now appeals to the greater Armenian Diaspora to help confront this increasingly dire situation. Given the urgent need for financial support, donations can be made immediately online, by telephone or by mail as outlined below.
“As AGBU has done numerous times during its more than 106-year history, we are helping all Armenians within our once vibrant Syrian community in their time of greatest need,” said AGBU Central Board of Directors member Vasken Yacoubian. “Armenians from all over the diaspora can help, knowing that all funds will go quickly and directly to support the relief efforts for Armenian families in Syria, who, amid the destruction and economic distress caused by the ongoing military activity, are depending on our assistance right now for their livelihood.”
As communications both within Syria and with the outside world continue to deteriorate, the Armenian community is relying on local efforts to address basic needs. AGBU has already begun providing relief with food, medicine, shelter, water and energy to thousands of Armenian families in various cities, with local youth from AGBU chapters mobilizing as volunteers. AGBU chapters are collaborating with the Syrian Armenian Emergency Coordinating Committee, which is composed of members representing all local Armenian organizations. Moreover, AGBU will also address tuition concerns of parents whose children attend Armenian schools in Syria when they reopen.
To make a donation online, visit http://agbu.org/syriarelief/index.html. Donate by phone Monday through Friday (EST): +1- 855-AID-AGBU (243-2428). Send checks to: AGBU, Syria Emergency Fund, 55 East 59th St., New York, NY 10022.