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Thursday February 9th, 2012

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


Avaaz launches urgent appeal for Syria

  • $1m appeal to fund medical supplies as drugs and equipment run out
  • Citizen journalists in need of power, sat modems and cameras
The global campaign organisation Avaaz today launched a $1 million appeal for urgent funds to support the citizens of Syria with medical equipment and support for the democracy movement. Avaaz has been supporting the Syrian democracy movement for the last year funding a network of citizen journalists who are breaking many of the major global stories coming out and smuggling medicine in to makeshift hospitals. Within hours of launching, over $100,000 had been raised.

Ricken Patel, Executive Director of Avaaz, said:  “Syria is a battle between all that is brutal and old in our world and all that is hopeful and new. But Russia and China have given Assad a licence to kill, and the Syrian people are at the darkest part of their night. They need us more than ever, and citizens across the world are mobilising fast to keep Avaaz’s lifeline of support open. This could be our generation’s Spanish Civil War.”

As embassies close, medical agencies withdraw and journalists pull out, Avaaz is one of the only organisations that can help the desperate people of Syria. Over the past months, Avaaz has delivered over $1.8 million worth of medical equipment to the worst affected areas of the country to keep the underground hospitals going and smuggled over 18 international correspondents over the border to keep the story in the global media.

On Saturday, Syria’s brutal forces killed one of Avaaz’s brave citizen journalists as he pulled people from the rubble of a deadly massacre in Khaldiya, Homs. For months, Omar, a civil engineering student, photographed Syrian forces brutally killing peaceful protesters and sent the images out to the global media through Avaaz.  Following his death, his friends appealed to Avaaz for help saying: “We’re heartbroken, but his death will not be in vain, we will carry on the fight, but we need your support.”

Avaaz is appealing for $1 million minimum to get help to the besieged towns before the humanitarian crisis deteriorates further. To see the appeal with a message from Danny, one of Avaaz’s citizen journalists, click here.

Avaaz has received a list of urgent needs from its activists in Homs who have been asking for:
  • Medical equipment for doctors in makeshift hospitals as tetanus shots, blood bags and a lack of respirators is leading to many of the injured dying.
  • More cameras, computers and satellite equipment to keep informing the world as security forces are targeting those with cameras and confiscating their kits.
  • Money for power and transport
  • Safe houses for people to take refuge. Avaaz has set up a number of safe houses for people but these are now full.
ENDS

For interview requests about Avaaz’s work in Syria with Ricken Patel, or for further information, please contact Will Davies on +447855 419901 or will@avaaz.org