“Don’t cry Adrjiera,” said Momeye to her baby girl. “Don’t suckle so hard. My breast milk is finished as I too must eat.” The 20-year-old mother arrived a day ago in this feeding centre in Saga, a suburb of Niger’s capital Niamey.
Her daughter suffers from severe acute malnutrition, a life threatening condition requiring urgent treatment. Without therapeutic feeding, between a third and a half of cases for under-fives end in death. If the children get the help they need, their chances of survival go up dramatically.
Children and mothers receive the necessary care at the centre, run by the Sisters of Charity with the support of CADEV, the national Caritas organisation in Niger. They regain their strength and are integrated in a regular programme to monitor their health.
At the moment, eight mothers with children in acute danger are hospitalised in the centre. Thirty more less severe cases wait in the […]
South Sudan became the world’s newest nation on 9 July 2011.
Twelve months later, we celebrate the achievements of the people and churches of South Sudan and of Caritas South Sudan and its Caritas partners in working towards peace and development.
The challenge has been huge. South Sudan has started life as one of the world’s poorest countries. A third of children do not see their fifth birthday, half the population lives in extreme poverty, only a third of people are literate.
Millions of people were forced from their homes and now have started to return. They must build their nation from scratch.
The road has not been an easy one. Conflict in the Nuba Mountains and Abyei has spiralled into serious humanitarian emergencies. Clashes between Sudan and South Sudan or with rebel fighters have taken lives and wreaked havoc on infrastructure like water systems, as well as education.
Caritas has worked in partnership […]
By Rev. Msgr. Robert J. Vitillo, Head of Caritas Internationalis Delegation to the UN in Geneva On 02 July 2012, Floriana Polito and I had the pleasure of convening some influential figures in the fight against hunger and poverty. Caritas Internationalis, together with Oxfam, held an important side event focused on human rights in the context of the food crisis in the Sahel region of Africa; it was held at the Palais des Nations in conjunction with the 20th Session of the UN Human Rights.
By Helen Blakesley “It takes a trained eye to see when someone is poorer than poor in Niger. People are living in a harsh environment, it’s a semi-desert, many households can seem badly off at the best of times. But this year, I noticed a change,” said Jean-Marie Adrian, Catholic Relief Services regional director for West Africa (CRS is a Caritas member working in Niger with partners such as Caritas Niger/CADEV). “A very simple thing struck me. Usually, during the dry season, people weave straw together to make new granaries or they repair the holes in their old ones. But as I drove past villages this time, I saw very few of these new circular constructions. Many had collapsed, with no effort to repair them … because there had been no harvest that needed storing”.
Zaki can’t afford to feed his family this year. He’s a young teacher in Burkina Faso. It’s one of a string of West African countries where food is getting scarce. The price of corn has increased so much Zaki can’t afford to buy it. His family must rely on their reserves of rice, but supplies dwindle each day.
Dassala and his family are hanging in for the moment. He is an elderly man, too old to provide for his family. His wife’s business isn’t looking so good. So they must rely on their son, an apprentice mechanic, to provide food. But it’s not enough, especially if food prices continue to rise.
“Thousands of families no longer know where to turn,” says Flavien Batiano of OCADES-Caritas Burkina Faso. “When food prices go up, people cope by migrating, selling livestock cheaply, turning to risky things like gold mining or fighting over grazing land […]
By Laura Sheahen
“When you’re hungry, if you have seeds, you start cooking.” Kotola Susana grins ruefully as he describes the situation of many of his fellow Kenyan farmers. After years of poor rains culminated in a devastating drought in East Africa, farmers ran out of options. In southern Kenya, where they raise corn, sorghum and other grains, fields were dry and brown. In the north, where most families live off their herds, people watched goats and cows grow rib-thin and die.
The drought of 2011 destroyed agricultural and livestock safeguards that millions of East Africans rely on. “People ate up their seeds. The seed banking system had collapsed,” says Shadrack Musyoka, who works for Caritas in a southern farming area called Kitui. “And a lot of seed was wasted when people planted early and the rains didn’t come.
“People who were traditionally OK were suddenly not OK.”
In an area of northern […]
Your support helped over one million people in East Africa overcome their worst drought in 60 years. You made it possible for Caritas to distribute emergency food, create water projects, and give out seeds so farmers can rebuild.
In November 2011, Caritas Communications Officer Laura Sheahen visited Kenya to see the community response in action. Explore the features below to find out how your support made a difference.
When drought pits neighbour against neighbour
“Herdsmen came here looking for pasture,” says Mwinzi Munyoki Tutu, a young farmer in southern Kenya. “We refused.”
‘You heard our cries’: hunger in East Africa
“I met a woman who was crying because she couldn’t remember the last time she had seen so much food.”
Seeds of hope after drought
“When you’re hungry, if you have seeds, you start cooking.” Kotola Susana grins ruefully as he describes the situation of many of his fellow Kenyan farmers.
Kenyan students back to school
Alice had […]
Read in French and Spanish
By Ryan Worms
Almost two years on from the earthquake of 12 January 2010, more than 600,000 people are still displaced in camps. They live in extremely precarious conditions and their health security is at risk.
Three dioceses were particularly affected by the earthquake: Port-au-Prince, Jacmel and Anse-à-Veau/Miragoâne. In certain areas more than 90 percent of the houses were destroyed.
Duval is a village set in the hills above Port-au-Prince, one hour’s drive from the capital. Bernard and his family live in this area. His wife Marie Gerta St Hilaire recalls 12 January 2010: “When the ground started to shake I panicked. I asked my husband to come and help me, but he could barely stand up. When we were able to get back to our house, it wasn’t there anymore. Everything had been destroyed, and there was devastation everywhere. After a while, we moved into a shack […]
Monsoon rains in Bangladesh have driven thousands of people from their homes [View our photo gallery]. Caritas Bangladesh is providing food to 70,000 people as well as shelter materials and sanitation. Caritas also plans to run cash- for-work programmes for communities to help repair the damage. We asked them about relief efforts so far.
What is the situation in the flood-affected areas?
Poor families dependent on day labour, share cropping, begging and rickshaws have lost their livelihoods. In Khulna in the south, people are still living in the highlands or in schools or they are migrating in search of work. Those who remain catch fish, do odd jobs for low wages, sell cows or their belongings or borrow money at high interest rates. Food, shelter, clothing and medical needs are being met by the government and aid agencies. Many houses are still standing, and people will be able to return in […]
Caritas Internationalis humanitarian director Alistair Dutton explains why Caritas has a big focus on harvesting and storing water in drought-hit East Africa.
The simple answer to a drought should be for it to rain lots. The crops would grow, the animals would get fed and people would know where their next meal and drink would be coming from.
People are desperate for rain in East Africa where up to 13 million people need emergency assistance because of one of the worst droughts in 60 years. But it’s not the simple solution it seems.
Alistair Dutton, humanitarian director for Caritas Internationalis has just returned from a trip to Ethiopia and Kenya. He met with Caritas member organisations working in these countries to discuss the best short- and long-term answers to the devastating hunger crisis caused by the drought.
“We went to a village and scores of people were sitting under trees. They had gathered […]
By Caritas Bangladesh staff
Fishing for crabs in the vast mangrove forest of the Sundarbans in Bangladesh is a dangerous way to make a living. A local poem says you always have a ‘shiver of fear’ as you travel the complex network of waterways, mudflats and small islands because the Royal Bengal Tiger does not work to a ‘timetable’.
The Sundarbans, or “beautiful jungle”, is the single largest swathe of mangroves in the world. The coastal mangroves and seasonally-flooded fresh water inland swamp covers 10,000 sq.km. of the Bay of Bengal, half of which are in Bangladesh. They are one of the wonders of nature, home to a diverse eco-system of flora and fauna. They are a source of livelihood for the local people, who catch fish, collect wood, crabs, tiny shrimps and honey there.
In the dark forest and canals, however, tigers find it easy to stalk and attack men and […]