Changing lives in Bangladesh

By |20 July 2011|

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 […]

Long-term solutions in Haiti

By |7 July 2011|

There is a long-term answer to alleviating poverty: helping people build up resilient livelihoods. Secours Catholique, the French national Caritas, worked with local people to improve their food production, supporting the most vulnerable with food rations so they did not fall back on eating seed stocks. Through food-for-work programmes in Les Cayes in southern Haiti, Secours Catholique helped communities to build flood defences. Now, extreme weather will not carry off their crops, as it has done in other years.

A sustainable and safer future has also been the focus in rebuilding houses. “It’s all different now.We are a lot more careful when we build,” said LucienWilner, a carpenter trained and employed by Cordaid, the Caritas member from the Netherlands. “Before the earthquake we did not build in this way, but now we won’t get so many people dying.” Lucien is part of a programme to tackle Haiti’s 50 percent unemployment […]

Prayer and Novena for Republic of South Sudan

By |22 June 2011|

Novena for South Sudan

South Sudan emerges as a new nation on 9 July 2011. The Catholic Church in Sudan is inviting all people of goodwill to take part in nine days of prayer for the future of the new state.

This novena begins on  June 29, 2011 and ends on July 7, 2011.

Day One: Dignity of the Human Person
Day Two: Common Good
Day Three: Rights and Responsibilities
Day Four: Preferential Option for the Poor
Day Five: Solidarity
Day Six: Integrity of Creation
Day Seven: Reconciliation
Day Eight: Subsidiarity or Participatory Government
Day Nine: Peace

Prayer for Republic of South Sudan

God of Mercies,
We thank you for your great love for us.
We ask you to guide all our leaders
in the process of nation building.
Grant them your wisdom, compassion and fortitude.

Loving God,
give us courage to reject ethnic resentment
as well as ethnic conflicts.

Through the intercession of St. Josephine Bakhita,
help us to overcome hurt, hostility and bitterness in our hearts
so that we become […]

Sudan: Be calm but vigilant…

By |7 April 2011|

Statement from the Sudan Catholic Bishops’ Conference Be calm but vigilant… (1 Peter 5:8) 7th April 2011 We the Sudan Catholic Bishops’ Conference, gathered in Extraordinary Plenary assembly in Juba, South Sudan, from 1st – 7th April 2011, have prayed and reflected together on the situation in our beloved Sudan. Mindful of our responsibility as prophets and shepherds at this crucial time, we offer you these words of encouragement and advice during the Season of Lent as we anticipate the Easter Joy of the Resurrection. In a previous statement, we said, Sudan will never be the same again. This has come to pass in the most concrete way, as we await the formal Declaration of Independence of the South and the formation of two new countries on 9th July 2011. However it is also true in a deeper way. The people of the South have had the opportunity to determine […]

New homes for quake survivors in Chile

By |24 February 2011|

Just last week, another 20 families in Curanilahue in Chile could move into their new houses.

Providing people who have lost their homes with decent shelter has been a major focus of Caritas’ rehabilitation programmes after the 27 February earthquake.

So far, Caritas completed 235 new homes for earthquake victims and repaired or improved 594 homes.

“Receiving the keys to our own house is a great joy for us, even greater when you consider that this help has come from so far away. We finally have a decent home! We were waiting for it eagerly after what had happened to us. I thank the team of Caritas and all who helped and are helping us,” said Juana Carrillo, one of the beneficiaries from Curanilahue.

In addition to the reconstruction work on houses, Caritas has fitted out 54 toilets in rural areas and delivered 432 household item kits to families who lost all or […]

Caritas in Chile one year after the earthquake

By |24 February 2011|

One year after a devastating earthquake followed by a tsunami that hit Chile, Caritas is continuing to help thousands of victims rebuild their homes and lives. Altogether, the Caritas response reached more than 800,000 people.

Caritas helps Chile rebuild

By |24 February 2011|

By Lorenzo Figueroa, Secretary General of Caritas Chile 

One year on from the earthquake and tsunami the poor are in a more precarious state. Indeed, an official government study reports that today Chile has 500 thousand more poor people as a result of the disaster. Road infrastructure, such as roads and bridges, has been rebuilt. But thousands of Chileans are still living in very poor-quality temporary accommodation, called mediaguas (shacks), in “villages” or camps that are not equipped with adequate services.

The process of allocating grants for housing and the building of new homes has been slow, as people have to wait two or three years for more permanent solutions. Rehabilitation of some key services, such as healthcare, is also progressing slowly. For example, people in the Maule region are still being treated in temporary hospitals.

The victims have had to deal with being forgotten by society and the authorities, as 2010 was marked […]

Caritas prepares as Côte d’Ivoire on brink

By |5 January 2011|

“The war in Côte d’Ivoire in 2002 triggered a major humanitarian crisis that spread to the neighbouring countries,” said Jean Djoman, Director of Human Development at Caritas Côte d’Ivoire. “The same mistakes must not be repeated now.”

Over a hundred and fifty people were killed in the West African country this December after a disputed presidential election in October between the incumbent Laurent Gbagbo and his rival Alassane Ouattara.

Caritas says dialogue must be supported otherwise the conflict could turn into a major humanitarian crisis that goes beyond the borders of Côte d’Ivoire. Jean Djoman says mediation from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is working.

“The two opposed camps of Gbagbo and his Ouattara have for the time being stopped their activities and demonstrations,” he said. “The situation is difficult, but we must hope that they can agree on a compromise. The fate of thousands of people depends on […]

Caritas providing long term help to rebuild Haiti

By |21 December 2010|

Close to a year after the earthquake, Caritas relief and reconstruction programmes in Haiti are well-established throughout the country.

Caritas will invest more than $217 million in Haiti over a one year period that started in May 2010.

This aid will cover further emergency needs caused for example by hurricanes, floods or the cholera epidemic, such as the distribution of hygiene kits and food aid, but also infrastructure and housing projects, education, livelihoods, water, sanitation, capacity building and health programmes.

The funds are additional to the roughly $14 million that were spent in the first three months after the disaster for emergency relief efforts and first rehabilitation programmes.

As over a million people are still living in camps, shelter remains a major focus of Caritas’ work in Haiti.

Activities such as building and repairing houses, ensuring earthquake-resistant construction norms, training work force in the construction sector and providing building materials to earthquake victims make […]

Take action now to prevent new food crises in Niger

By |14 October 2010|

The food situation has been stabilised in the Sahel region, especially in Niger where the number of people at risk of malnutrition fell from more than 60% to around 6% over the last months.

Now, it is crucial to take further action at this point, says Raymond Younoussi Yoro, Secretary General of Caritas Niger.

How is currently the situation in terms of food security in Niger? 

Mr. Yoro: There has been considerable improvement in the food security over the last months. According to recent statistics, there are now 68 vulnerable areas in Niger, and only 11 in a critical state, compared to 211 vulnerable areas in December 2009. We are optimistic considering the upcoming harvest. It should be quite good. However, 6 percent of the population remain at risk, especially in some regions in southern Niger that have suffered from rodent plagues.

What kind of problems remain? 

Mr. Yoro: We are very worried about the situation […]

Flooding hits poor hardest in Pakistan

By |13 October 2010|

By Mumtaz Bashir Bhatti, Caritas Pakistan 

Floods in Pakistan have displaced millions of people, destroyed billions of rupees worth of houses, killed many and washed away all belongings in rural communities from North to South.

Is this what global warming looks like? Many scientists think it is. If it was, it is very clear that women and children will be the most affected.

When I visited different parts of Southern Pakistan affected by the flood, I found that women and children under the age of 10 were at high risk, and many have been died because of different diseases.

There is no immediate food shortage in the country, as Pakistan had its bumper crop last season, but billions of acres of rice and pulse crops has been washed away, which may cause the shortage and high prices in next few months in the country.

The situation may deteriorate if farmers miss the winter sowing […]

Six months after Chile quake

By |27 August 2010|

Chile is getting back on its feet six months after the 27 February earthquake left millions without homes and in need of aid. Caritas responded immediately, providing food, shelter, warm clothing and compassion, reaching over a million people.

Now Caritas is switching to reconstruction and rehabilitation. But Lorenzo Figueroa, Secretary General of Caritas Chile, says there is an urgent need for a national plan from the government as winter approaches.

Interview with Lorenzo Figueroa, Secretary General of Caritas Chile

What have been the greatest challenges? 

The earthquake affected a massive area, from Valparaíso to Araucania, in which almost 13 million people live. Over two million people were directly affected. It was difficult to assess the impact and identify the victims. Coupled with this, information wasn’t coming through from the government.

Caritas initially responded by providing people with water, food, clothes, shelter, hygiene goods, but also spiritual support. We’ve reached 210,000 of the most vulnerable […]

Safety from the storm in Bangladesh

By |23 June 2010|

Caritas Bangladesh builds shelters that offer protection when cyclones hit. They work with villagers to make sure that everyone knows about evacuation plans and that there is enough food to last through the storms.

Tanjibul Hussain Sujon is a community volunteer in Bangladesh. He said, “There is a group of us who keep in touch by radio.We receive early warning signals when a disaster happens and organise evacuations.”

Where there are no cyclone shelters, Caritas helps to adapt existing buildings, such as schools, so that they can provide a safe refuge during extreme weather.

In remote Mothurapur in Bangladesh’s vast Sundarbans forest, Caritas began work on improvements to the village school in July 2008, raising the level of the floors and cementing them, strengthening pillars, building water-sealed latrines, repairing roofs and fences and setting up a rainwater harvesting tank for drinking water.When Cyclone Aila hit in May 2009, 19 families along with […]

Bringing Solar Power to the People of Darfur

By |26 May 2010|

As climate change is heatedly debated by world leaders, communities in Darfur are finding sustainable solutions to water shortages in Internally Displaced Peoples (IDP) Camps.

The rainy season in South Darfur typically lasts five or six months of the year. For the remainder, the land is dry, arid and desolate. With the length of the rainy season becoming increasingly unpredictable in Darfur, water has become a precious commodity. While the climate change debate is on the collective brows of our world leaders, innovative adaptive measures are being taken in Darfur to secure sustainable water sources amidst the continuing drought.

Osman, the Project Coordinator of a Caritas supported Water and Sanitation Team (WATSAN) said, “Kubum Solar Water Project was initiated by the growing need for sustainable sources of water for IDP Communities in Darfur. This is the first successful example of an aid agency using a solar powered solution for the benefit […]

Graffiti for change in Haiti

By |30 April 2010|

By Mathilde Magnier

Graffiti artist Jerry has been covering the walls of Haiti’s relief camps with his works of art. His objective is tough is to encourage the Haitians to apply basic hygiene principles.

“I am spraying for change. It is my mission to talk to the Haitian people,” says Jerry. He has a spray can in his hand and is looking at a wall he is covering with colorful graffiti.

In the blazing sun, the young street artist’s forehead is covered with sweat. Restless, he is drawing one grinning character after another, all of them with impeccable clean hands, on the surrounding wall of the relief camp in Nazon. 5,000 people have found shelter in this camp since the earthquake.

In this remote site where humanitarian aid has barely started to arrive, people are curious and enthusiastic about the artist’s performance.

“It’s Jerry, it’s him, it’s Jerry, that is what he looks like!” […]

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