Message from PWRDF Partner in Cairo

Protesters in Tahrir Square, Cairo. Photo: Al Jazeera (used under Creative Commons)

PWRDF staff, along with most of the world, have been following with great interest the situation in Egypt.  Beyond our interest in this story as a news piece, we have been concerned about our partners at Refuge-Egypt, an agency providing care for refugees out of the Anglican cathedral in Cairo.  PWRDF has been supporting the health care project of Refuge-Egypt.

PWRDF received this letter from Jonathan Lee, the director of Refuge-Egypt on February 2, 2011:

Dear Friends and Partners,

This is the first day of Internet access since last Friday, we trust that it will remain open but are working quickly to do essential things and get updates out in different directions.

We effectively closed Refuge-Egypt services last Saturday until further notice. We cannot estimate when we might be able to re-open. (This has effectively stopped our work to finalise reports that are due to donors for which we apologise).

As program staff live in various suburbs of the city; the curfew, transportation limitations and people being concerned about their safety and their property, are restricting them getting to their place of work. Now that mobile phone services have been resumed we are maintaining good and regular communication between staff so that we keep each other abreast of developments. From the reports I have received from staff, there have so far been good relations between the refugee and Egyptian communities. Food supplies have, however, been getting more scarce.

Our main concern is to assist medical needs amongst the refugee communities. Thankfully many of them have direct numbers for our Doctors, which a few have made use of. We have also asked the hospitals that we contract with to receive patients directly. The problem is that the hospitals themselves have not been open.

To be honest nobody knows how this situation will develop. As I write, I am listening to the live reporting on the BBC website on violence erupting in Tahrir Square. Whether that will spread out to the suburbs, who knows.

I know that the UNHCR office is closed. I cannot believe that St Andrews Refugee Service, AMERA, CARITAS or other refugee programs are operating either. This comes at a time when we ourselves were seeing significant increases in the numbers of South Sudanese arriving in Cairo.

Let the Holy Spirit lead your prayers. These are significant times for the Egyptian people. The refugee communities are, in many ways, unable to do anything but keep safe. Their governments will not be providing flights to get them out.

Personally I am still here with my family. Like others we watch and wait and pray.

Thank you for the messages and encouragements that you have sent.

Yours in His service,

Jonathan Lee
Director, Refuge-Egypt

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