November 3, 2008

Lives saved in Myanmar

By |3 November 2008|

Caritas says that 80,000 people have received some form of assistance through its relief operations following the deadly cyclone that hit Myanmar 2-3 May, 2008. Over 7 million people lived in the area affected by Cyclone Nargis.  The latest figures put the death toll at 84,537 people, with the number of missing at 53,836 people.  Approximately 2.4 million people were directly affected by the cyclone. At least 1.4 million people lost their homes. Caritas Internationalis is coordinating relief efforts of its 162 member organisations. Caritas has reached survivors of the storm in Yangon, Pathein, Bogale, Amar and Dedaya with food, clothing, bedding, and provided access to clean water and sanitation. At least 5000 people have received 50kg bags or rice and 8,500 mosquito nets have been been handed out among other items. “With the ensured the support of all of you, we are resolute in making the lives of the people more dignified [...]

ACT/Caritas prepare for the coming rains

By |3 November 2008|

By Emad Eldin Ali, with contribution from Catherine Dennis Life in Darfur can be harsh at the best of times, but during the rainy season it can be particularly challenging. Many families who have lost their homes because of the conflict are now living in makeshift mud huts and straw shelters. Ensuring people have shelter, medicine and reserve food is also a challenge for the staff of ACT/Caritas. The June to September rainy season can make road transport difficult, so it’s important to prepare things well in advance. In Mershing, South Darfur, staff have already delivered essential household items to hundreds of internally displaced families living in camps. In Teigy camp, a large group of mostly women and children gather at sunrise at their community centre to receive items delivered by ACT/Caritas. "I am happy because the household things from last time are now damaged", said Fatima, who has been living in Teigy camp [...]
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    Caritas making a difference three months after Myanmar cyclone

Caritas making a difference three months after Myanmar cyclone

By |3 November 2008|

By Tim O'Connor Saturday, 2 August 2008 marks the three month anniversary of cyclone Nargis. And despite the difficulties, Caritas’ immediate response, through the Church and other partners in Myanmar, has saved many lives and brought urgent relief to 82,700 children, women and men. Mr Jamie Isbister, adviser to the Caritas response in Myanmar said: “Despite the immense difficulties in accessing the affected areas, in working in Myanmar and in harnessing and training people on the ground to assist the recovery efforts, we have exceeded our initial targets in reaching affected populations. At least 82,700 people have been directly assisted with supplies of food, clean water, temporary shelter and other essential items. We have striven – and succeeded – in responding in a manner true to the Caritas spirit of respecting people’s dignity at this horrendous time.” Through local partners, particularly the Catholic Church and other networks, Caritas has established the necessary systems [...]

Changing women’s lives in Chad

By |3 November 2008|

By Antoine Adoum Goulgué, SECADEV for Caritas The Al-Nadjah centre is a handsome building in the Chadian town of Adré, about 5 km from the border with Sudan’s troubled Darfur region. With finanancial and technical support from Caritas, the centre provides training for local women, a nursery school, and a playground. The 235 beneficiaries in Al-Nadjah Centre are women, with a special focus on unmarried mothers and girls withdrawn from school. Young mothers are often abandoned by their families and by the father if their child is born outside of marriage. Caritas provides them with support through the centre. Traditional beliefs force girls to abandon schooling as soon as they reach age of puberty (from 10 to 12 years old). Lacking opportunities provided by schooling, these girls go to the centre in order to learn knitting and food production. But the centre also helps any woman who faces the challenges of providing for her family [...]

Stories of hope from Bangladesh

By |3 November 2008|

She is a sweet baby. All people in the neighbourhood love her. She is Sidora Folia. She was born in the fateful night of Sidr. Cyclone Sidr hit Bangladesh on November 15, 2007, killing over 3,000 people, causing a billion dollars of destruction and leaving hundreds of thousands homeless. Previous storms had killed people in the hundreds of thousands and although the death toll of 3,000 was still too high it was much less than would have normally been expected for such a large cyclone. 140,000 died in 1991 in a similar storm. One of the factor was disaster preparedness projects carried out by aid agencies such as our national member Caritas Bangladesh. They’d provided training and built storm-proof centres for people to seek safety. Caritas Sidr Beneficiaries Baby Sidora Baby Sidr Jona Arati Rani Rupiya Rupia When Sidr hit, some people rushed to Caritas shelter-cum- primary School building situated at Kaninagar in Mongla upazila under Bagerhat district. As [...]
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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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