When ducks swim past your first floor window

By |6 June 2013|

Flooding is not unusual in Passau, the eastern Bavarian town known as ‘three river city’. The town is located at the confluence of the Danube, Inn and Ilz rivers. It’s accustomed to rising water levels. Homeowners keep sandbags on the doorstep of their house at all times. But what happened last Sunday and Monday was unprecedented.It was a scene that the town has not witnessed since the Middle Ages.

Caritas supports victims of flooding disaster in Austria

By |4 June 2013|

Caritas offers support to the people in the regions affected by the flooding. “From this moment on the Caritas disaster relief fund is available for emergency aid. Additional to financial temporary measures, the people will also need human support and accompanying assistance during bureaucratic procedures,“ says Franz Küberl, Caritas Austria President.

Out of control Syrian crisis threatening region

By |24 April 2013|

The humanitarian situation in Lebanon is desperate as over a million Syrian refugees seek safety in their tiny neighbour. “What we have been seeing is unbelievable, says President of Caritas Lebanon, Fr. Simon Faddoul. “The numbers are growing in an incredible way. The situation is getting worse. It’s becoming disastrous.”

Future without Hunger – Congress on Global Hunger

By |15 May 2012|

Caritas is hosting a congress on Global Hunger and Sustainable Food Security - 1st and 2nd of June 2012 in Vienna Live stream from the Future without Hunger Conference. Cardinal Rodriguez about to speak. | Read the key note speech by Cardinal Rodriguez Maradiaga (pdf) 925 million people worldwide are starving. Every 12 seconds, a child dies of hunger. Hunger is not a natural event; it has social, economic and political causes. It is a global tragedy, more so because it is avoidable. Through this congress, Caritas is uniting people to start fighting together against hunger. The event will gather public authorities and decision-makers, academics, journalists and civil society representatives from the whole world. It will discuss all the challenges to food security today, such as the chronic causes of global hunger, global agricultural trade, armed conflicts, the effectiveness of development aid, food price speculation, land grabbing and agro-fuel policies, climate change, food waste, sustainable lifestyles [...]

Church delivers one quarter of worldwide care on HIV

By |15 August 2011|

“About a quarter of help provided worldwide for persons living with HIV infection is delivered by faith-based organisations“, said Msgr. Robert Vitillo. Last week, the leading AIDS-expert of Caritas Internationalis, delivered a speech to Austrian journalists and church representatives in the run-up to the 18th International AIDS Conference that will take place from July 18th to July 23rd in Vienna. The help provided includes medical care, nursing, information, HIV-tests, care for AIDS-orphans, psychological and spiritual support as well as prevention. Msgr. Vitillo expressed serious concern that faith-based aid programmes received only five percent of the Global Fund resources distributed worldwide while they deliver between 30% to 70% of health care in many developing countries. He also pointed out the precarious situation of HIV-positive children. In 2009, Caritas Internationalis initiated a campaign ‘HAART for Children’ in order to promote the development of additional “child friendly dosages and formulations of anti-retroviral [...]

HAART for Children campaign on HIV and AIDS

By |7 July 2011|

Children are the focus of one of Caritas Internationalis’ major campaigns: HAART for Children. HAART stands for Highly Active Anti- Retroviral Therapy. Caritas Internationalis presses governments and pharmaceutical companies to develop “child-friendly” forms of medicines and testing. Caritas Australia directly asked the pharmaceutical giant Roche to do its part in facilitating access to medication to fight HIV and the tuberculosis that so often accompanies it. Caritas turned children themselves into advocates for other children with email postcards to spread the message that better paediatric drugs are urgently needed. Members of Caritas Austria’s Young Caritas group also became child advocates by presenting over 20,000 signatures they had collected to their government at the International AIDS Conference in Vienna in July. Seventeen-year-old Lena Neururer said, “First I used a smile to get people to sign, then second I used the facts and figures.” The signatures demanded that the Austrian government continue to fund [...]

AIDS Conference in Vienna: We need to move forward on HIV

By |23 July 2010|

Msgr. Robert J. Vitillo, the Special Advisor on HIV/AIDS for Caritas Internationalis, spoke about the recent challenges in combating HIV and AIDS, on the occasion of the upcoming World AIDS Conference in Vienna (18-23 July 2010). Is the world facing up to the challenge of responding to HIV AIDS?  I fear that the world is forgetting AIDS nowadays. For example, one new and very serious concerns is whether governments will continue to support the “fight” against AIDS or if they will give priority to other issues. The United States, for example, has changed the name of its global AIDS programme to the “Global Health Initiative”. Similarly, the United Kingdom announced that it now would give priority to fighting malaria and maternal mortality. These are indeed valid concerns, but must they be pursued to the neglect of the 33.4 million people living with HIV in the world today?  In the beginning of June, I visited [...]

AIDS conference in Vienna with call for more funding

By |19 July 2010|

The 18th international Aids conference in Vienna ended Friday with one strong message: Despite the financial crisis the fight against HIV/AIDS must not decrease. “We are just at the end of the beginning,” said former US President Bill Clinton in his speech. At least 25,000 people from all over the world took part in this conference to discuss and to exchange new ideas, new scientific studies but also to exchange good practices and challenges they have encountered. Many people from the Caritas network were among them. Msgr. Robert Vitillo, Caritas Internationalis Special Representative on HIV and AIDS, said, “Instead of reassurances to provide more AIDS funding, a number of donors are indicating that there may be cutbacks in available funds.” "For years the Global Fund and others told us to scale up treatment and other support programme, now they suddenly tell us to scale down” said Fr. Richard Bauer, Director of Catholic AIDS [...]

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