October 13, 2010

Caritas Mexico gets ready for climate summit

By |13 October 2010|

With Climate talks scheduled for December in Cancun, Caritas Mexico is keeping busy in their planning to raise awareness. Bishop Gustavo Rodriguez Vega, the President of Caritas Mexicana was part of the Caritas Internationalis delegation last year at the climate talks in Copenhagen and is eager to mobilize civil society organisations and the Church in Mexico. Caritas Mexico is organising a Holy Mass for Sunday 05 December and assembling the Caritas family together for a few days of capacity building on the thematic issues covered in the negotiations. Caritas has applied jointly with the World Council of Churches and ACT Alliance for a side event entitled ‘Faith based organisations advocate for climate justice’. If approved, the focus of this discussion will be around how communities address climate change, poverty and sustainable development, offering ethical contributions to international negotiations through awareness raising, social mobilization and advocacy. Caritas, the World Council of Churches and ACT Alliance [...]

Money will talk at Cancun climate summit

By |13 October 2010|

By Christine Campeau, Caritas Internationalis  Financing climate adaptation in developing countries is a must. It will determine the success of the upcoming United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) 16th Conference of the Parties (COP 16) in Cancun, Mexico in 29 November to 10 December 2010. There is widespread pessimism over the lack of significant progress in reaching a climate change accord since the Copenhagen meeting last December. In an attempt to move things forward, Switzerland and Mexico co-hosted a meeting last month in Geneva to shed light on the status of the billions of climate-aid dollars pledged in Copenhagen. Details of this meeting centred on how to raise the pledged US$100 billion in annual long-term financing for 2020. While some view meetings such as this one as progress in the right direction, several critics complain that this is still the tip of the iceberg. Promised climate change aid has no scientific or economic [...]

June 30, 2010

Heartbreaking story in the Gulf of Mexico

By |30 June 2010|

By Kathy Brown, CCUSA American Caritas member Catholic Charities agencies in Louisiana continue to reach out to those impacted by the environmental disaster still unfolding in the Gulf of Mexico. In New Orleans, Catholic Charities has helped over 1,500 fishermen hit by oil spill in 5 relief centers providing food and food vouchers, baby items, counseling, and more. 6227 people (1883 families) have received emergency assistance from Catholic Charities in New Orleans alone. Other diocesan charities agencies are also reaching out all along the Gulf Coast. The oil spill is having a disastrous consequence on the livelihoods of fishermen and their families and also on tourism, a major industry on the Gulf Coast. Quoting from the Bayou Catholic, the diocesan paper of the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux (May 13, 2010, Vol. 30, No 23, Houma, LA): [Rob] Gorman (Executive Director of Catholic Charities in Houma-Thibodaux) expressed the hope that, like the miracle of the loaves [...]

December 2, 2009

Imagine compassion in a crisis: Preparing for next time

By |2 December 2009|

Life since the 2007 Mexico floods has been a learning curve for Hugo Gutierrez. He said Caritas Tabasco’s small team was almost overwhelmed when the disaster happened. After the floods Mr Gutierrez did emergency response training to ensure that if the floods ever came again, people would be better protected. “We learned about how to organise and divide tasks, how to improve assistance and how to develop emergency plans,” said Mr Gutierrez. The training covered many aspects of emergency response including evacuation drills, disaster prevention and minimum standards for disaster response. Mr Gutierrez considers the training to have been invaluable as it helped Caritas Tabasco identify strengths and weaknesses and map the risks for future disasters. The training means that Caritas is better prepared to face whatever nature throws at it. “Now people can really count on us,” said Mr Gutierrez.

November 3, 2008

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    Emilie Della Corte, Emergency Programme Officer during the Tabasco Flood

Emilie Della Corte, Emergency Programme Officer during the Tabasco Flood

By |3 November 2008|

Soon after the Mexican floods hit, Caritas launched an appeal for US$2 million to help the people of Tabasco. Emilie Della Corte works for Caritas Internationalis’ (CI) Emergency Response team in Rome. She and another colleague went to Mexico City to support Caritas Mexico in developing their emergency appeal. The document would request donations from some of the 162 organisations that belong to the Caritas global network. “It was my first emergency for Caritas. I didn’t know what to expect,” said Emilie Della Corte. “We don’t send a team from Caritas Internationalis to every emergency, but the Tabasco floods were the worst natural disaster to hit Mexico in 50 years, so it was all hands on deck. Before the appeal was launched Caritas workers in the flooded region had to provide precise information regarding how many people needed help, their location, how easy was it to access them, what stocks were already [...]

Lessons learned in Tabasco floods

By |3 November 2008|

It is a year since heavy rains caused massive floods which affected one million people in Tabasco, Mexico. Caritas was on the ground and made sure people had food, water and shelter during the worst part of the disaster. Once the emergency was over, Caritas turned its focus to building people’s knowledge and resources to face any future floods. Read the story of Mr Hernández, who received help from Caritas both during the floods and afterwards. Caritas staff tell their stories Father Saúl de Jesús Solís Vera, Caritas Tabasco DirectorWhen you’ve just started a new job the last thing you need is to find yourself at the centre of a disaster where many people are turning to you for help Read more... Erica Dahl-Bredine, Mexico Country Representative for Catholic Relief Services The only way Erica Dahl-Bredine could reach the trouble spots of flooded Tabasco last November was by army helicopter. Read more... Hugo Diaz Gutierrez, Caritas Tabasco Logistics Officer  Life since the 2007 [...]
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    Hugo Diaz Gutierrez, Caritas Tabasco Logistics Officer during the Tabasco Flood

Hugo Diaz Gutierrez, Caritas Tabasco Logistics Officer during the Tabasco Flood

By |3 November 2008|

Life since the 2007 floods has been a learning curve for Hugo Gutierrez. Last year he was one of the three part-timers working for Caritas Tabasco when the disaster happened. Father Saul hired a few more people so Gutierrez became a part of a team of seven, but there was still no denying the enormity of the situation for such as small team. “Initially, we had no idea what was happening,” says Gutierrez. “It was our responsibility to help the poorest families face the floods.” Not everyone wanted to help those who were in need. Looting took place when the floods were at their height and people had to abandon their homes. “Also, the hidden poverty that isn’t usually so evident became visible,” says Gutierrez. After the floods Gutierrez did emergency response training to ensure that if the floods ever came again, people would be better protected. “We learned about how to organise and divide [...]
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    Erica Dahl-Bredine, Mexico Country Representative for Catholic Relief Services during the Tabasco Flood

Erica Dahl-Bredine, Mexico Country Representative for Catholic Relief Services during the Tabasco Flood

By |3 November 2008|

The only way Erica Dahl-Bredine could reach the trouble spots of flooded Tabasco last November was by army helicopter. "As we flew into Villahermosa, the capital city of Tabasco, everything as far as the eye could see was under water. Whole villages, farmland, almost everything," says Ms. Dahl-Bredine, Mexico country representative for Catholic Relief Services (CRS). Apart from financial help, CRS sent experts to the disaster zone to assess needs and help coordinate relief efforts. Once the floods abated, CRS’s efforts moved on to helping reactivate the rural community by organising an intensive training and leadership programme for representatives from 55 parishes in Tabasco. “They spent two months in intensive training to assess needs in terms of vulnerability to disaster,” says Dahl-Bredine. Course attendees were also taught methods to improve economic development either in terms of better farming techniques , finding employment or generating income. Once the course had finished, people returned to their communities [...]
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    Father Saúl de Jesús Solís Vera, Caritas Tabasco Director during the Tabasco Flood

Father Saúl de Jesús Solís Vera, Caritas Tabasco Director during the Tabasco Flood

By |3 November 2008|

When you’ve just started a new job the last thing you need is to find yourself at the centre of a disaster where many people are turning to you for help This is what happened to Father Saúl de Jesús Solís Vera last year just a few months after he’d started working at Caritas in Tabasco, the Mexican state where one million people were affected by massive floods. “The floods were an enormous surprise that we weren’t prepared for. Many people immediately went to the Church for support,” says Father Saúl. In some cases literally. As numerous people were suddenly made homeless they ended up sleeping among the pews of Villahermosa Cathedral until other shelter could be found. “We weren’t prepared. There were just three people working part-time in Caritas Tabasco,” says Father Saúl. The challenges presented by such a big emergency to the local Caritas were massive. But as with many other emergencies, [...]

Facing the Tabasco floods

By |3 November 2008|

Last Christmas was a very poor one for Mr Hernández and his family. The massive floods in Tabasco in October and November had ruined hectares of his crops and many of his poultry had died of infections, so he had very little to sell at the market. Mr Hernández had one metre of water in his house so he slept in a bed on stilts. His family went and stayed in drier accommodation nearby, but Mr Hernández stayed with the house to deter looters. As Tabasco lies almost at sea level, there weren’t many hills on which to take refuge when much of the land was under water . Some people stayed with their houses, others went to schools or were taken in by neighbours who were less affected. Over 1000 people went to sleep in the local cathedral during and after the floods. Soon after the floods struck, Caritas was in action [...]

August 15, 2008

International AIDS Conference wraps up

By |15 August 2008|

AIDS representatives speaking at the end of the International AIDS Conference 2008, which took place in Mexico City from 3-5 August, have emphasised the need for a combined prevention package. “There is a lot of work that needs to be done. It needs to be done and it must continue but we can’t sit down and wait for a vaccine the way things are going. People working in the prevention field have now coined combination prevention strategies as the way forward,” said Dr Julio Montaner, AIDS 2010 International Chair and IAS President 2008 – 2010. Up to 25,000 delegates from across the globe including people living with or affected by HIV, professionals from fields of scientific research, health, social services, development, and human rights took part in the five-day conference, which bore the theme “Universal Action Now!” Before the conference, the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance held a pre-conference entitled “Faith in Action Now!” [...]

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