East Africa, one year later

By |9 August 2012|

The situation in 2011 was very critical. Thanks to the Caritas member organisations who supported us, our programmes have saved lives. Supplementary food has been distributed for some malnourished children in some pocket areas through Catholic health institutions and this contributed to save lives of this children.

Hunger crisis in West Africa

By |4 July 2012|

More than 18 million people in West Africa’s Sahel region don’t have enough food. A bad harvest last year and high food prices have caused a widespread food crisis across Niger, Mali, Mauritania, Chad, Senegal, parts of Nigeria and Gambia.

A last line of defence against child malnutrition in Niger

By |4 July 2012|

“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 one year on

By |3 July 2012|

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 […]

The food crisis in Sahel: how do we prevent the next one?

By |3 July 2012|

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.

Chad’s women gardeners

By |14 June 2012|

The village of Chawir is located in Canton Migami, south-central Chad (West Africa). Like almost everywhere in the area, the locals are almost exclusively women and children. Of the 2,760 inhabitants of Chawir, only 120 are adult men.

Helping Niger prepare for food crisis

By |27 March 2012|

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”.

Averting crisis in West Africa’s Sahel

By |14 February 2012|

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 […]

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    In drought-stricken Horn of Africa, Caritas brings water to the thirsty

In drought-stricken Horn of Africa, Caritas brings water to the thirsty

By |15 December 2011|

In southern Kenya, wide riverbeds turned sandy and brown. Women used gourd shells to dig further and further down in the riverbeds, hoping to capture a few scoops of water.

‘You heard our cries’: hunger in East Africa

By |15 December 2011|

Whenever there’s a way to farm, Caritas helps people help themselves. Irrigation projects Caritas developed in the 1990s and early 2000s saved many people during the 2011 drought. But with no rain, many herdsmen and farmers simply couldn’t produce food. So Caritas started trucking in drinking water and food, driving lorries over near-impassable dirt roads in villages the government can’t always reach.

Seeds of hope after drought in East Africa

By |15 December 2011|

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 […]

East Africa after the Food Crisis

By |15 December 2011|

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 […]

New homes for Haitians

By |11 November 2011|

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.

Flood preparation pays off in Bangladesh

By |8 September 2011|

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 […]

Rain only part of the solution for East Africa drought

By |12 August 2011|

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 […]

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