Sichuan earthquake

By |28 April 2013|

According to Caritas Hong Kong, the earthquake that shook the Sichuan Province in Southwest China a week ago has claimed the lives of 200 people and wounded 12,000 affecting over 1.5 million inhabitant living in the province. “In the villages I visited the most urgently needed supplies are tents, plastic sheeting and blankets as well as drugs, analgesics, anti-inflammatory soap, food, oil” says Br. Yi , a Caritas volunteers.

The Chinese government has been quick to respond and dispatch teams and troops as it is the second disaster hitting that the region in the past five years. Search and rescue teams are operating around the clock and desperately fighting against time to save as many lives as possible whilst the continuing aftershocks are impeding with their rescue efforts. The pressure is mounting as most of the relief materials can only be transported to the affected areas after the completion of […]

Out of control Syrian crisis threatening region

By |24 April 2013|

The humanitarian situation in Lebanon is desperate as over a million Syrian refugees seek safety in their tiny neighbour. “What we have been seeing is unbelievable, says President of Caritas Lebanon, Fr. Simon Faddoul. “The numbers are growing in an incredible way. The situation is getting worse. It’s becoming disastrous.”

Landslides complicating Sichuan quake relief efforts

By |22 April 2013|

Caritas partners are struggling to reach Taiping, a remote township near the epicentre of Saturday’s deadly earthquake. The earthquake of 6.6 magnitudes struck the province of Sichuan in Southwest China on 20 April, killing nearly 200 people, leaving thousands of people injured and causing significant damages.

Catholic Peacebuilding conference

By |18 April 2013|

Catholic leaders, academics, and U.S. government officials addressed Catholic peacebuilding and U.S. foreign policy at a major conference, Peacebuilding 2013: Pacem in Terris at 50, April 9-10, at The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC.

Earthquake in Iran Pakistan

By |16 April 2013|

A strong earthquake of 7.8 magnitude hit Pakistan at 15.44 hours (10.44 GMT ) today. The tremors were felt in Islamabad, Lahore, Abbottabad, Peshawar, Hyderabad, Quetta, Multan, Kohat, Hangu, Bannu, Dir and many other areas across Pakistan.

Caritas Lebanon comes to aid of Syrian refugees

By |12 April 2013|

By Soraya Naufal, Caritas Lebanon – Information and Communication Department The number of Syrian refugees who have fled to Lebanon since the beginning of the Syrian crisis in March 2011 has officially reached the alarming figure of one million individuals (mostly women and children). This, in a country of approximately four million inhabitants, already shaken by numerous conflicts over the past five decades, could lead to a disastrous humanitarian situation. In order to reduce and prevent, from the start, social and humanitarian complications, Caritas Lebanon was among the first NGOs to rapidly deploy in the Bekaa valley and in the border regions, thus relieving both Christian and Muslim Syrian refugees and providing them with basic humanitarian needs: clothes, food, blankets… Its intervention is set up in collaboration with the UNHCR and the UNICEF, and according to the SPHERE standards. Medical assistance targets mainly women and children in Caritas Lebanon’s Health […]

From child soldier to top student in Congo

By |12 April 2013|

By Taylor Toeka, Caritas Goma

Francais

Germain Muhindo comes top of his class almost always, yet a few months ago the eight year old first grader had never even seen a chalkboard. But he had seen war. He was forced into being a child soldier for three months in September 2012 by fighters in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s ravaged east.

“We were working to the fields when we met the rebels,” said Germain. “They ordered my older brother, who is thirteen, to carry their bags. He refused so they hit him and made him do it. As there were only two of us, they made me come along too.”

Half a million people were driven from their homes in North Kivu last year and thousands of children were taken to be used as soldiers, cooks, messengers, porters or the girls as sex slaves by government and rebel forces.

“Every day I thought of […]

Come to World Youth Day with Caritas!

By |12 April 2013|

Greetings of hope to all Caritas friends from all over the world! We are living a time of hope and good news. One of them is that World Youth Day will take place in the beautiful city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from 23rd to 28th July. We from Caritas Brazil want to meet and get to know other Caritas youth from around the world and from our own region. With that in mind, we will hold an International Meeting for the youth of Caritas on 14-15 July in the in the State of Minas Gerais. After that, the Missionary Week (prior to World Youth Day) will take place in several dioceses from 16th to 23rd July. The youth are invited to take part in both events to then travel to Rio de Janeiro on World Youth Day.

Eye witness accounts of the war in Syria

By |4 April 2013|

By Caritas staff These last three days have been particularly difficult and deadly in Aleppo. Caritas works in the Jabal Es Saydeh quarter with families who have been forced from their homes. But it is now empty of all its residents, driven from their homes by heavy fighting.  The local sheikh was murdered. He had opposed the armed groups. He was beheaded and his severed head displayed for passersby to see. Homes have been occupied by fighters and used as advanced firing positions. Bullets and bombs rain down ceaselessly on Jabal Es Saydeh and adjacent neighbourhoods.  Snipers dominate the city. They’ve moved into areas previously thought safe before. Christian parts of the city which were thought safe have become the front line.  Families have had to flee from place to place looking for safety.  Aleppo has witnessed a major wave of people, both Christian and Muslim, leaving because they no […]

Tragic death of Syrian baby in Lebanon

By |4 April 2013|

By Caritas Lebanon Migrants Centre

The parents of 8-month old Amjad Aalawayn came to the Caritas Lebanon Migrant Centre in Zahle in the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon on Wednesday 3 April looking for help for their sick baby. The family were Syrian refugees, fleeing the fighting in their country. The baby was pale, listless and had no appetite.

They came to Caritas after one hospital had refused to admit Amjad because of money issues. A Caritas social worker contacted a paediatrician to transfer him to a hospital, but sadly he passed away while waiting for medical assistance.

Our social worker contacted the hospital where he was transferred, whereby they confirmed the death of 8-month old Amjad. No cause of death was declared as was dead on arrival. May this angel’s soul rest in peace, a peace he certainly didn’t find in here.

Many sick children have been referred to Caritas from the same […]

Lebanon buckling under influx of refugees

By |3 April 2013|

By Jos de Vogd, CORDAID (Caritas Netherlands)

After two years of fighting in Syria, the flow of refugees into neighbouring Lebanon is increasing the pressure on this small country by the day. According to recent government figures, more than a million Syrians are now in Lebanon. And every week more than 10,000 more displaced people, all looking for accommodation, are adding to the problem because there are no official refugee camps there.

The numbers include refugees registered or waiting to be registered with the UN refuge agency UNHCR. But they also include people who are either not willing to register as well as seasonal workers who didn’t return to Syria because of the civil war, instead persuading their families to join them in Lebanon. Also included are Palestinian refugees from Syria and Lebanon who were permanently living in Syria. At the moment, one in five people in Lebanon come from Syria.

There […]

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    “The shaft of light breaking through the heavy clouds”: Pope Francis’s inaugural mass

“The shaft of light breaking through the heavy clouds”: Pope Francis’s inaugural mass

By |19 March 2013|

By Michelle Hough, communications officer with Caritas Internationalis It’s been a week of lots of coffee, very little rest and some very bad, unhealthy food mostly eaten standing up. But it’s also been a week that I’ll tell my grandchildren about: the week Pope Francis was elected and conventional wisdom about what a Pope is supposed to be like was turned on its head. This morning was Pope Francis’s inaugural mass in St Peter’s Square. It would have been nice to have moseyed on over there at 9am and got a seat at the front ready for the 9.30am mass, but that would have been about as likely as meeting the Pope himself (maybe not so unlikely considering the way things are going with him). So I got there at 6.30am, got a good place half way between the obelisk and St Peter’s and prepared myself for a five hour […]

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    Male circumcision and preventing transmission of HIV from mother to child

Male circumcision and preventing transmission of HIV from mother to child

By |19 March 2013|

For the past two years, CHAN has followed closely the implementation of the UNAIDS- PEPFAR (US government AIDS Initiative) Global Plan to Eliminate New HIV Infections among Children by 2015 and to Keep their Mothers Healthy.

“Truth, beauty and goodness”. A week with Pope Francis

By |18 March 2013|

By Michelle Hough, communications officer for Caritas Internationalis I’ve seen Pope Francis three times in six days, starting with the night he was elected. Every time I’ve had to wear the highest heels I own just to see over the heads of the massive crowds. I could also have done with a pair of binoculars. On Sunday, I arrived at St. Peter’s around 11.15am for the midday Angelus. The square was already packed and a massive crowd of hundreds, if not thousands were waiting to get in. I decided to use my press pass to go up to the roof area between St Peter’s and the colonnade (Braccio Carlo Magno) as it didn’t even look as though I’d be able to get into the square. On the roof there were dozens of TV and photo journalists with many more camped under temporary gazebos on buildings near-by. A new Pope is […]

There’s something about Francis

By |15 March 2013|

What’s in a name? Since the Holy Father chose to be the first Pope Francis in history, many people have been speculating about the significance of this. Francisco Gearóid Ó Conaire OFM is a co-executive secretary of the Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Commission of the Union of Superiors General (USG/UISG) and he is based in Rome. He reflects upon St Francis of Assisi and Pope Francis – and throws in a bit of St Francis Xavier for good measure. Interview by Michelle Hough. “St Francis saw the whole of creation as one big family under God. If we and the whole of creation are all from the same Father, we’re related to each other. If you’re connected to and are related to each other, you have a responsibility to each other,” said Francisco. On creating him Patron of Ecology in 1979, Blessed Pope John Paul II wrote: ‘The […]

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