July 3, 2012

The food crisis in Sahel: how do we prevent the next one?

By |3 July 2012|

By Rev. Msgr. Robert J. Vitillo, Head of Caritas Internationalis Delegation to the UN in Geneva On 02 July 2012, Floriana Polito and I had the pleasure of convening some influential figures in the fight against hunger and poverty. Caritas Internationalis, together with Oxfam, held an important side event focused on human rights in the context of the food crisis in the Sahel region of Africa; it was held at the Palais des Nations in conjunction with the 20th Session of the UN Human Rights.

June 14, 2012

Chad’s women gardeners

By |14 June 2012|

The village of Chawir is located in Canton Migami, south-central Chad (West Africa). Like almost everywhere in the area, the locals are almost exclusively women and children. Of the 2,760 inhabitants of Chawir, only 120 are adult men.

May 15, 2012

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 [...]

April 26, 2012

Hunger threatens families in Burkina Faso

By |26 April 2012|

The price of fifteen kilograms of millet has doubled in just a few months. "That much millet would feed my family for two days. Imagine what I have to pay each week to provide three meals for my children and grandchildren,” said Merega.

Caritas advocacy experts plan for global campaign

By |20 April 2012|

As Abraham Lincoln put it, “If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend six sharpening my axe.” With that in mind, delegates of 20 Caritas members from around the world joined staff from Caritas regional offices and the Caritas Internationalis Secretariat in Rome this week to prepare for a year+ joint anti-poverty advocacy campaign in 2013. Over three days, participants talked about what needs to be in place to make the camapign a success so that it has a real impact on the lives of the poor. Hopes are the campaign will be a cornerstone in Caritas Internationalis members four year strategic plan, approved during their General Assembly in May. “The meeting was a good place to exchange ideas,” said Martina Liebsch, Caritas Internationalis Director of Policy and Advocacy. “People brought their passion and their regional and national perspectives. It was a stimulating taste of the […]

March 28, 2012

West Africa’s food crisis at a glance

By |28 March 2012|

What is the humanitarian situation in West Africa’s Sahel region? More than 12 million people will face acute food shortages in the Sahel region of West Africa unless early and effective action is taken now to prevent the crisis. People in Niger, Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso and Chad are already suffering from a lack of food with the ‘lean’ season still to come. In the worst affected areas, people have already started to ration food to one meal a day, sell off cattle or leave their farms for urban centres. We must not wait until there are images of starving children on our TV screens. By acting now we can ensure the food crisis does not deteriorate. What has led to a food crisis in West Africa? Poor rains and drought last year and pest infestation means this year’s harvest will not produce enough food. A spike in regional food prices has left people [...]

Helping Niger prepare for food crisis

By |27 March 2012|

The crisis is threatening the Sahel region of Africa—the band of land below the Sahara desert, extending from Senegal to Chad. In a normal year, the Sahel receives on average as little as 78 to 236 inches of rain. Last year’s rains were poor and the harvests bad or non-existent.

Niger: the worst food crisis we can remember

By |15 March 2012|

In a normal year, the harvest in November would produce enough food for the people in the village to last all year. But the harvest last year was disastrous, and people in Mintou’s village have already run out of food.

February 14, 2012

Averting crisis in West Africa’s Sahel

By |14 February 2012|

Zaki can’t afford to feed his family this year. He’s a young teacher in Burkina Faso. It’s one of a string of West African countries where food is getting scarce. The price of corn has increased so much Zaki can’t afford to buy it. His family must rely on their reserves of rice, but supplies dwindle each day.

January 20, 2012

Radio interview: Kenya food crisis

By |20 January 2012|

While Caritas and other aid agencies have helped millions of East Africans through the worst of the region’s food crisis, more remains to be done. Susan Hodges of Vatican Radio interviews Caritas’ Laura Sheahen about her visit to Caritas projects in Kenya--and about the ongoing impact of the 2011 drought. Listen to the interview

December 15, 2011

Photo gallery: fighting hunger in East Africa

By |15 December 2011|

“Mothers said their children were too weak to walk to the clinic,” says a nurse who treated malnourished people in northern Kenya during the worst of 2011’s drought. Throughout East Africa, poor rains led to hunger on a massive scale. By late 2011, your gifts had turned things around. Caritas immediately distributed emergency food, but also set up long-term projects that help villagers capture water and raise food even in drought times. Explore this gallery of photos from Kenya to see how you helped. Photos by Laura Sheahen/Caritas

October 20, 2011

No Plan B in Ethiopia

By |20 October 2011|

The food crisis in East Africa hit the headlines over the summer. Resources were mobilised around the world to support communities in need as drought in Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia put millions of people in peril. Val Morgan of SCIAF (Caritas Scotland) reports from southern Ethiopia that although the news attention may have moved on, the suffering remains. By Val Morgan What it is like to be hungry and facing a slow death by starvation? What it is like to see our family’s assets disappear, our children lose weight and our spouse join us in worrying how bad the future might just get? In early October 2011, I was brought a bit closer to these realities when I visited southern Ethiopia. The situation is truly desperate. People are going hungry, cattle are dying in large numbers, water sources and grazing land have all but disappeared, and the people don’t know […]

World Food Day: Calling for action against hunger at FAO

By |17 October 2011|

By Martina Liebsch, Caritas Internationalis Policy Director I listened to Didi Bridgewater, walked past Claudia Cardinale, stood next to Jeremy Irons, saw Carl Lewis and took the elevator with Carla Fracci. What do you want more for a day? But where is the connection to food? All these celebrities are good-will ambassadors for the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). They were calling for a greater commitment in the fight against hunger at a meeting to mark World Food Day today in Rome. Government representatives and NGO’s were gathered in the plenary hall at the FAO offices in Rome and along with the directors of FAO and the other UN food agencies WFP and IFAD. The message from Pope Benedict XVI was delivered by Archbishop Luigi Travaglino, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to FAO: “Many of our brothers and sisters do not have daily bread. The freedom from the […]

Church and Caritas leaders discuss East Africa food crisis

By |7 October 2011|

“He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside still waters.” It’s a phrase known to Christians around the world, one of the most beloved verses of a beloved psalm. It was the psalm Pope Benedict XVI referred to during his weekly audience Wednesday 5 October which ended with an appeal to the world not to forget East Africa,  where drought has turn green pastures brown and made water scarce. Crops have failed; herdsmen have watched  their goats and cattle grow thinner and die. Tens of thousands of families walked for weeks to reach refugee camps, or anywhere with water.

August 12, 2011

Six million people need help in North Korea

By |12 August 2011|

by Fr Simeon Lee, Executive Director of Caritas (South)Korea  I’m visiting North Korea to follow up on 100 tonnes of flour we delivered at the end of July and to talk with our North Korean counterparts. The flour is currently being distributed to nurseries and hospitals in Gangnam County in North Hwanghae. While it isn’t a lot compared to the need, we expect that this food assistance will give hope to the children and the sick. We hope that our heartfelt support can console people and make them understand that someone is accompanying them. The money for the flour was raised at a “Mass for Peace” in Imjingak, South Korea, in June. The event was organised by the Committee for National Reconciliation and Caritas Korea was very involved in the process. Afterwards we received the funds collected during the Mass. Caritas Korea focuses its work mainly of food assistance but in May [...]

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