By Fr.Aurelio Gazzera in Bozoum, Central African Republic
Francais and Espanol
These days we received a great gift: The visit of the Archbishop of Bangui, Dieudonné Nzapalainga. He is one of the few people in the country who raise their voices against injustice and violence. He is the president of the Episcopal Conference and of Caritas. He brought us the solidarity of the Church and gave us great encouragement. He came here to examine the situation of the 2,400 displaced people who abandoned their villages along the Bozoum-Bossangoa road to get to Bouzom.
On Saturday we started with a meeting with the delegates of the eight villages, who presented their situation and their needs. Their most urgent need is peace and security. But then also healthcare, food, shelter… At 10 AM we met with one of the few officials who remained in the city. However, he does not have any power, as everything […]
Ongoing violence in South Sudan’s Jongeli State has forced an estimated 100,000 people from their homes into the bush. The recent clashes include inter-communal violence between Lou Nuer and Murle people.
Those who have fled the fighting and are living in the wilderness have no food, clean water or healthcare. Aid agencies are struggling to reach them due to the fighting and heavy rains that make the roads inaccessible.
Caritas is working with the UN’s WFP to distribute food to those displaced and effected by the violence in the Pibor area in Jonglei. Caritas South Sudan has been mobilising diocesan staff and parish volunteers to support the humanitarian response in Jongeli State.
Caritas member Catholic Relief Services is also supporting the intervention.
Caritas South Sudan said, “A big thank you to the parish volunteers from Archdiocese of Juba and the Dioceses of Tombura-Yambio and Wau. In an act of true solidarity, they are travelling to […]
By Dana Shahin, Caritas Jordan
Hanan Yousef Abdel-Razaq lost her home and a four-year old daughter during an attack on Dara’a in Syria in January. She fled to Jordan with her two remaining children, sons aged five and three.
Hanan is one of the over half a million Syrian refugees now living in Jordan because it’s too dangerous to remain in Syria where a bloody civil war is raging into its third year. The refugees come with nothing, and need food, shelter, education and healthcare.
One in eight Syrian refugees in Jordan are women or children.
“I heard about Caritas first from my sister,” said Hanan. “When I came here to register, they asked me about my family and I said I had two children. They immediately offered me services for me and for my children.”
Caritas Jordan has register 130,000 Syrian refugees to receive its aid. They will receive food vouchers, help with accommodation, […]
By Clotaire Mbao Ben-Seb, Communications Officer Caritas Central Africa
The people of Central African Republic continue to live through a terrifying ordeal.
Calm has returned to the capital Bangui, but in the interior of the country, human rights abuses are continuing according to local staff.
Fr Aurélio Gazzera is the local diocesan Caritas director in Bouar in northern CAR.
He says that there has been violence, robbery and killings against the local people from 25 July. People are experiencing the worst conditions of their lives.
Fr Gazzera was part of a fact finding mission to Ouhman-Bac on Sunday 27 July. He says there are reports of between 30 to 50 bodies thrown into the river Ouham. This has caused people to flee from the area. Caritas is seeking to find out further confirmation around the incident.
Fr Gazzera says that there is a lack of food, medicine, sleeping mats and tarpaulins for people as the rainy […]
“We had a lovely life,” said Gharam, an 11-year-old Syrian refugee now in Lebanon. “I went to school. I had friends. I was happy.”
That way of life has been torn apart in Syria’s brutal civil war.
Gharam lived Hassakeh in the north-east of Syria. “The most frightening thing was the bombing,” she said. Now her school has been destroyed and she has seen the homes of her friends flattened.
What began with kids writing anti-regime graffiti on a wall in the Syrian town of Deraa in March 2011 has been transformed into a brutal civil war in Syria and the largest humanitarian crisis Caritas is working in today.
There are at least 100,000 people dead, nearly 7 million people in Syria needing aid and 4 million forced from their homes within the country. Over 1.7 million people have fled to neighbouring countries.
But the figures don’t adequately reflect the true cost of the […]
The humanitarian situation in the Central African Republic is becoming dramatic, according to Archbishop Dieudonné Nzapalainga of Bangui.
“It’s catastrophic,” said the Archbishop. Basic services like health and education have collapsed following a coup, food is scarce, businesses are struggling to survive and public sector salaries have gone unpaid. [Read Caritas Africa statement on the situation in Central African Republic]
“The needs in my country are great. People are ill and don’t have medicines,” he said. Reports show that many medical clinics are either closed or have no medicine available.
“They don’t have food. Every evening for the past week there’s been a ‘concert of saucepans’ in Bangui. People are out on the streets banging their pots because they are so hungry,” said the Church leader.
Conflict erupted in December 2012 when the ‘Séléka’ rebel coalition launched a series of attacks, seizing Bangui in March. An estimated 206,000 people are internally displaced in the […]
By Patrick Nicholson
“There were bodies everywhere,” said Ali. “We had two choices if we wanted to live: Turkey or Lebanon. We came to Lebanon because I thought I would find work.”
Ali (49), Aaicha (34) and their five children came to Lebanon 18 months ago from Idlib in north-western Syria. The deciding factor was when the next door house was hit by a rocket, killing 18 people.
Life in Syria had gotten progressively worse for them since the start of the conflict in early 2011. There was no electricity or running water. Inflation was rampant. What cost 15 Syrian pounds before the war, now cost 150 Syrian pounds.
“You had to stand in line for three hours just to buy bread,” said Ali. And then there were the bombs, rockets and air attacks.
When they first arrived in Lebanon, the family lived in a small tent. Now they rent a room in Mount […]
By Patrick Nicholson
Since the start of the conflict in 2011 in Syria, over 1.7 million people have fled to neighbouring countries. Lebanon has received the largest number of refugees in the region. Although there are half a million Syrian refugees registered in Lebanon, the true number is estimated to be beyond 1 million.
Every day, Caritas staff meets hundreds of new arrivals from Syria, each with their own account of the horrors they’ve seen. Sometimes it can be overwhelming. “When I hear all their stories, it feels like my head will explode,” said Mireille, a Caritas social worker in Beirut.
Suitable accommodation has long since run out in the small country, and the refugees must find anywhere they can for shelter. Caritas Lebanon is providing aid and care to the Syrian refugees wherever they might be.
Khatar (42) lives with her six children in a cowshed on a farm in the Bekaa […]
Syrian refugees fleeing to Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey have lost their homes, their belongings and their jobs or schools. They’ve witnessed war at home and faced a perilous journey to escape. (Caritas emergency appeal on Syria)
Now, as refugees, they live in tents, makeshift apartments or in tiny rooms. In Lebanon, eight of ten need food, seven out of ten need shelter and three-quarters of the children have no access to education.
While much of their suffering is visible, many are also dealing with the trauma of their recent experiences. The refugees are also worried about loved ones still in Syria or transfixed by the stream of terrible news as their country is torn apart. Depression, anxiety, insomnia, neurosis and stress are common.
In a Caritas survey of 950 Syrian men and women refugees aged between 18 and 60 in Jordan, one in five people were in need of some form psychological […]
Read in French By Clotaire Mbao Ben Seba, Bangui If you think a smile is stronger than a weapon If you believe in the power of an offered hand, If you can look at the other with a touch of love If you prefer to know the hope to suspicion, If for you the other is primarily a brother, If you believe that peace is possible, Then peace will come. A hymn for peace sung by students of St. Theresa School in Bangui at a special Mass for reconciliation. “If we speak, write and cry loud enough, someone may stop, listen and do something,” said Fr. Aurelio Gazzera, Caritas director in the diocese of Bouar in the Central African Republic. But he doubts that help will come to a country with chronically instability and little strategic value. Conflict, human rights abuses and lawlessness has been rampant there since the rebel […]