Catastrophe in Central African Republic

By |4 July 2013|

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 [...]

Healthcare for Syrian refugees in Lebanon

By |4 July 2013|

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 [...]

Give me shelter: Syrian refugees in Lebanon

By |3 July 2013|

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 Khatar (42) lives with her six children in a cowshed on a farm in the Bekaa [...]

Hail to the chief!

By |2 July 2013|

For Caritas Denmark and COERR, this election is yet another successful milestone in the journey that Caritas Denmark and COERR embarked on 10 years ago with the setting up of what is still fondly known as the HoM component of our Thai-Burma Border Programme.

Who will save my beloved Syria?

By |21 June 2013|

One evening while the electricity was down, I took a walk in the popular area of ​​Tabbalé in Damascus. In the small dark streets, people passed each other by, their flashlights in hand. It’s a popular area, where Christians, the poor from every region and people from rural areas mix.

Syrian refugees suffering depression and stress

By |18 June 2013|

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 [...]

A cry for peace for Central African Republic

By |4 June 2013|

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 […]

Historic day for regulation of global arms trade

By |3 June 2013|

Governments are signing up to the world's first internationally binding treaty to regulate the trade in conventional weapons Monday. Adopted by the UN in April after a vote of 154 to three, the agreement will control the global trade in arms and ammunition. Caritas members in France, Colombia, India, the Democratic Republic of Congo have been pressing for the deal. Joseph Cornelius Donnelly reports from the UN in New York. At last! At last in more than one way dozens of Member States are now sitting inside UN's Trusteeship Council Conference Room. Ceremonial beginnings under way with speeches on what is being called an historic day. What will count is not the very important signatures alone, but the urgent ongoing implementation of an effective Arms Trade Treaty to comprehensively bring greater peace and security to the world, to the human family everywhere - everywhere at last. It is noted that civil society, [...]

Central Africa Republic slides into chaos

By |23 May 2013|

Cases of arbitrary killings, robberies, looting and abductions have been reported throughout Central African Republic since Seleka rebel forces seized power in March.

Fighting returns to Nord-Kivu in Congo

By |22 May 2013|

By Guy-Marin Kamandji After about six months of a truce, fighting has resumed around the eastern Congolese city of Goma, in North Kivu. An offensive by M23 rebels started on Monday 20 May at dawn in Mutaho. Eye-witnesses, speaking  on Radio Okapi, said, “We heard heavy arms fire on the hills around our homes from about 4 in the morning. We left immediately without taking anything. It is under these conditions that we arrived at Mugunga...  we were scattered. There are people who have not found their children." Caritas says it registered 132 families in Mugunga III camp on Monday from Mutaho. “M23 troops resumed fighting in the early hours of Monday. These clashes have caused a panic among the population of several villages and many people have moved to a neighborhood in the north east of Goma,” said Caritas Goma. “Our last information is that 3000 people have arrived at the St.Francis Xavier [...]

Congo’s women dream of water

By |14 May 2013|

By Guy-Marin Kamandji, Caritas Congo Musawu walks with a firm step, carrying 20 litres of water on her head with great agility. The water must be equivalent to about half the 10 year old girl’s weight. It’s Monday morning in Bukwa Mulumba, a town in Kasai Central in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Musawu still has to make the 2.5 km trip from her home to the water point and back two more times today.   “When there is enough water at home, then my mother lets me go to school.  Tomorrow I will be able to go to school,” she says. She is not the only one making the walk on the slippery slope. Mrs Kanyeba, a young woman,  doesn’t have the 250 to 300 Congolese Francs (about 20 cents) to buy 20 litres of water in her village, so she must make the journey herself. “After four trips with 20 […]

The tragedy of everyday life in Aleppo

By |13 May 2013|

By Bishop Audo of Aleppo, Caritas Syria President For two years Syria has been pulled apart by conflict. Violence and anarchy have become widespread. We have become conditioned by tragedy.  Our minds and hearts have been constricted by fear and by caution. But I do my best to keep my heart and eyes open to what is happening.  And I’m pained by the terrible poverty I see. A few days ago, I was walking in Souleimanié, a Christian quarter in Aleppo. People were surprised to see me walking alone. Immediately they feared that I might be kidnapped. The kidnappings of two priests and two bishops have traumatized many Christians in Syria. As I walked, I saw four children in their early teens sitting around a table on the pavement playing cards. They were the children of merchants. They no longer go to school but just send their time playing cards. […]

Syria through the eyes of its children

By |8 May 2013|

Four million people have had their lives shattered by the war in Syria, half of them are children. For the millions of children still inside the country, everyday is a struggle.
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    ‘Everything has been destroyed and nearly everyone has been robbed’ – Central Africa Republic

‘Everything has been destroyed and nearly everyone has been robbed’ – Central Africa Republic

By |2 May 2013|

Reports coming out of Bangui paint a brutal picture of fear and violence with no end in sight. No one feels safe and help and comfort are hard to come by as the violence persists.

Taking Congo’s message to the United Nations

By |30 April 2013|

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