April 7, 2011

Sudan: Be calm but vigilant…

By |7 April 2011|

February 24, 2011

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 [...]

January 5, 2011

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 [...]

December 21, 2010

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 [...]

October 14, 2010

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 [...]

August 27, 2010

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 [...]

June 23, 2010

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 [...]

May 26, 2010

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 [...]

April 30, 2010

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!” [...]

March 31, 2010

Putting a roof over the heads of Chile’s quake survivors

By |31 March 2010|

By Andreas Lexer, Caritas Communications Officer in Chile Iloca used to be a beautiful little village everybody went to in the summer, about 100 km away from the city of Talca. The blue, red and yellow coloured houses built on poles were close to the shore, the river ran in to the sea just in front of the village and a sand dune kept the Pacific Ocean well away. On Saturday, February 27th, everything changed. After the 8.8 magnitude earthquake hit Chile at 3.34 in the morning people were wide awake. “We immediately knew we had to leave”, says Mavet Rivera, who ran a little fish store close to the Beach. So she took her three sons, jumped into the next car and went up the hill. Then the sea rolled in. Three waves washed away Iloca. “The radio was telling us that there would not be a Tsunami, when we actually saw it,” [...]

December 22, 2009

Working Together to Save Lives in Darfur

By |22 December 2009|

Christian Churches from all over the world are working together to save the lives of people affected by conflict in Darfur. A joint programme involving ACT (Action by Churches Together), a global alliance of churches and related agencies working in the field of humanitarian relief, and Caritas Internationalis has been providing essential life-saving services such as clean water, food and health care to 300,000 people living in camps, and surrounding villages, in South and West Darfur. Nyika Musiyazwiriyo, the outgoing Head of Programmes for the Joint ACT/Caritas Programme in Darfur, says being able to work together has meant the ACT/Caritas Programme has become one of the biggest players among UN and other humanitarian actors in the conflict-affected region of Sudan. “One of our key strengths is being able to draw on each others’ experiences, knowledge, and resources” Nyika explains. As such, the Programme has been able to provide clean drinking water to nearly [...]

Rebuilding: Hurricane Survivors Move on With Caritas Help

By |2 December 2009|

Rolande Jean’s home sits a few feet from the edge of the Caribbean Sea, between the small town of Nippes, Haiti and, in September 2008, directly in the path of Hurricane Ike. When the Category 4 storm roared ashore, Jean huddled with her husband and children in their small wooden house, and bore the brunt of the storm’s fury. “The house was very badly damaged,” Jean said. “The river flooded the house, and the roof was torn completely off. We were in the house when it happened.” Forced from their home, the family took shelter with a neighbor across the street on higher ground, above the floodwaters left in the wake of the storm. Coming as it did on the heels of Hurricanes Gustav and Hanna, which wreaked havoc across Haiti, Ike was the last straw for many in this impoverished nation. In Nippes alone, nearly 1,400 homes were damaged or [...]