March 12, 2013

Caritas members working together on Mali crisis

By |12 March 2013|

Caritas is launching a wide-ranging response covering four countries to help those affected by the recent conflict in Mali which has uprooted hundreds of thousands of people from their homes. A 3,055,134 euro (US$4 million) programme will strengthen Caritas organisations in Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Senegal so they can help the hundreds of thousands of Malians affected by the crisis. The prime focus of the programme is to provide aid to the internally displaced, refugees and others who are victims of the Mali conflict. “The funds given to this emergency not only give us the chance to extend our solidarity to Malian refugees in a time of need but they also invest in helping Caritas organisations in the Sahel respond to the emergency together and to have a good grounding for collaboration on future emergencies,” said Gaston Goro, head of emergencies at Caritas Mali. Over 5000 families (30-35,000 people) in Mali and [...]

Caritas prepared for possible election violence in Kenya

By |1 March 2013|

Caritas in Kenya has laid the groundwork to respond in the event that violence erupts during presidential elections next week.

February 19, 2013

  • Supporters of Central African Republic President Francois Bozize demonstrate at the airport in Bangui December 30, 2012.

Credits: REUTERS/Luc Gnago courtesy of AlertNet.org
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    Central African Republic tired of “useless suffering” at hands of rebels, say bishops

Central African Republic tired of “useless suffering” at hands of rebels, say bishops

By |19 February 2013|

Bishops from Central African Republic (CAR) have made a desperate plea to the international community and their government to help communities who are being terrorised by rebels. The country has been unstable since Seleka, a coalition of five separate rebel groups started to advance from the north in early December 2012. They have been accused of human rights abuses, including rape as a weapon of war. Communities who have been “taken hostage” by rebels have been cut off from any help and aid agencies have limited activity. “A large part of regions in CAR is occupied by the SELEKA coalition,” said the bishops in a four-page message. “People in these areas are hostages, they live in fear, they flee into the bush and they abandon their fields. The sick are without care, hospitals are closed or have been completely destroyed and schools have been pillaged.” Ten bishops signed the message, including Archbishop [...]

Caritas appeal following Central African Republic unrest

By |1 February 2013|

Caritas is launching an appeal for funds to help communities in the Central African Republic who are still reeling from attacks on towns and communities by rebels. The rebel forces started to advance in northeastern CAR in December 2012 and nearly brought about the fall of the capital Bangui. A ceasefire was agreed in January but the situation remains precarious. The UN has condemned the use of child soldiers, rape, sexual slavery and the killing and maiming of civilians in the country. The threat of violence has meant that many people have left their homes. Meanwhile, some staff working for CORDAID (Caritas Netherlands) in Bangui were evacuated earlier this month. “Once more people of the Central African Republic, women, children and young people in particular, have found themselves facing distress, famine and cut off from access to healthcare and hygiene facilities,” said Archbishop Dieudonné Nzapalainga, president of Caritas Central African Republic. Caritas is [...]

January 18, 2013

Caritas helping Darfur ten years on

By |18 January 2013|

Caritas will help over half a million people in Sudan’s Darfur region this year as part of a US$9.6 million (7.3 million euro) programme. Through its work with the Action by Churches Together (ACT) Alliance, a network of over 130 churches and related development organisations, Caritas will place a big focus on helping people become more self-sufficient. “The joint ACT-Caritas programme provides badly needed basic services to people in Darfur year in year out. Now we’re making a big investment in livelihoods so people are more autonomous and communities can become more self-sufficient,” says Alistair Dutton, humanitarian director at Caritas and co-chair of the programme. According to the UN, a total of 3.4 million people in Darfur are in need of humanitarian assistance. This figure includes 1.4 million displaced people (IDPs) in camps receiving food aid. ACT-Caritas will continue to build community resilience by investing in water and sanitation, health, nutrition, education, social [...]

Church in Mali urges international help as crisis unfolds

By |17 January 2013|

The president of Caritas Mali, Archbishop Jean Zerbo of Bamako, has asked for a humanitarian corridor to be opened in his war-torn country. He also appealed to the global Caritas network and the international community to help those affected by the conflict currently being fought. French and African troops are trying to prevent Islamic rebels who have taken control of northern Mali from advancing further. Archbishop Jean Zerbo of Bamako said, “A new period of suffering is beginning for the people of Mali. We would welcome support so that we can help the increasing number of displaced and refugees.” Reports say up to 400,000 people have fled their homes either to southern Mali or to neighbouring countries since the rebels began advancing from the north last year. Some 18 million people lived through a severe food crisis in the region last year. It is feared that influxes of refugees will deplete low [...]

Bishops call for ceasefire in the Central African Republic

By |11 January 2013|

Bishops in the Central African Republic (CAR) have called for a ceasefire and the opening of a humanitarian corridor after a month-long revolt by rebels. The bishops’ voices join that of Pope Benedict, who urged for a return to stability in the country earlier this week. Caritas staff on the ground report pillaging and occupied villages, while many people have been displaced by fighting in central and northern CAR. Over a hundred people are reported to have been killed. Fr Elysée Guedjandé, secretary general of Caritas CAR, said, “People are sleeping with host families or in churches or parish houses. Their most urgent needs include food, bedding, mosquito nets and anti-malarial medicine.” While people were attending midnight mass in Kaga Bandoro on Christmas Eve armed men came and ransacked public buildings and destroyed the archives before occupying the town. Bishop Albert Vanbuel of Kaga Bandoro says, “The situation risks getting worse. The rebels [...]

Caritas Lebanon helping evacuate migrant workers from Syria

By |11 January 2013|

Caritas Lebanon will assist in the evacuation of another group of Filipino refugees who are fleeing the war in Syria in a bid to return home. Caritas Lebanon Migrants Centre social workers will await the group of 40 migrants on the Lebanon-Syria border on Sunday to help facilitate their repatriation before taking them to the airport. They have helped over 300 Filipino nationals plus some Sri Lankans leave Syria so far. “Some of the refugees are so traumatised when they arrive that they are visibly shaking,” says Dima Haddad, from Caritas Lebanon, who headed one of the previous evacuations. “We try to get them to the airport and repatriated as quickly as possible.” Processing the refugees’ evacuation can take up to 10 hours for each group. Caritas Lebanon has been working with the International Organization of Migration, and the Syrian and Philippines embassy to help facilitate the bureaucracy of leaving Syria and [...]

December 21, 2012

Caritas concerned for Gazans in difficulty

By |21 December 2012|

Caritas is concerned that people in Gaza cannot meet their basic needs following the November conflict between Israel and Hamas. The Caritas confederation is launching a €1.6 million (US$2.1 million) appeal to help vulnerable families who lack access to healthcare, are financially insecure and are unprepared for winter. “After so many years of suffering, Gazans need the chance of a new beginning in which an era of peace reigns. As Christmas approaches, we mustn’t forget that Gaza lies not far from Bethlehem, the birthplace of the Lord. Let this fact inspire us to accompany Gazans in our thoughts, deeds and prayers, wherever we may be,” says Michel Roy, secretary general of Caritas Internationalis. Efforts to help those in difficulty will be focused on areas including health, hygiene, counselling and providing cash assistance to people who have economic problems. Four hospitals will receive medical supplies to boost their ability to treat those injured in [...]

Caritas Turkey supporting Syrian refugees

By |20 December 2012|

Caritas is launching a programme in the New Year to help Syrian refugees who have fled over the border to Turkey. Official figures show there are over 120,000 Syrians in refugee camps in south and southeastern Turkey, but tens of thousands more have not been registered yet. Camps are filled to capacity and the number of people living outside them is increasing. Thousands of people are waiting every day to cross over the border from Syria. “People need humanitarian support and solidarity. They need medicine, they need blankets, they need food, and mostly they need support of people who care them,” said Rinaldo Marmara, director of Caritas Turkey. “Caritas Turkey has worked for refugees since 1991 and we have witnessed how difficult it is to be in a different country without work, without knowing the language, or without having basic resources. Day by day the number of Syrians coming to our office [...]

Caritas mobilises in Pacific for cyclone relief

By |17 December 2012|

Caritas agencies in the Pacific are mobilising to provide cyclone relief and assistance to thousands of people in Samoa, Fiji and elsewhere affected by Cyclone Evan. The Cyclone hit Samoa late last week, killing four people, while eight people are missing. The category four cyclone is currently hitting Fiji, where at least 37 evacuation centres are holding more than 3500 people in the north. It has also impacted the territory of Wallis and Futuna, and Caritas Oceania agencies are attempting to make contact to assess the extent of damage. Caritas Samoa is helping shelter more than 1000 people in its own basement hall and in three other centres in partnership with the Red Cross.  Caritas Samoa has electricity generators for lighting, and is providing food and water at all the shelters. ‘As soon as the cyclone hit, we opened our hall for immediate shelter for neighbouring families who had discovered their homes [...]
  • Caritas Niger (CADEV) support a seed fair in the village of Koira Bano, north of Ouallam, near the Malian border. This is one of the places that is most affected by the food crisis. Local merchants provide drought resistant seeds so that the farmers from neighbouring villages can select those they want to buy with the vouchers donated by Caritas.

Credits: Worms/Caritas
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    UN and humanitarian partners launches US$8.5 billion appeal to help 51 million people in need in 2013

UN and humanitarian partners launches US$8.5 billion appeal to help 51 million people in need in 2013

By |14 December 2012|

(Rome/Geneva/New York, 14 December 2012): Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Valerie Amos, called today for US$8.5 billion to help an estimated 51 million people who will need urgent humanitarian relief in 2013. Ms. Amos made the appeal on behalf of the UN and international humanitarian organisations working in 16 crisis-affected countries around the world. “Humanitarian needs continue to grow around the world and there are millions of people in need as a result of the impact of disasters and conflicts. People need our help and support as they strive to rebuild their lives,” Ms. Amos said at the launch of the Humanitarian Appeal 2013 in Rome. The global appeal for 2013 includes 16 national appeals for Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, occupied Palestinian territory, Philippines, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Yemen and Zimbabwe. “The ongoing global economic crisis means that [...]

November 30, 2012

Caritas appeal for crisis-hit Congo

By |30 November 2012|

Caritas is appealing for more than US $2.6 million to assist people caught up in the latest conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo. M23 rebels seized Goma, the provincial capital of Democratic Republic of Congo's eastern North Kivu province on 20 November from government forces. Recent clashes have forced more than 140,000 people to flee their homes and seek refuge in camps or makeshift accommodation. Local Caritas staff in Goma are working in challenging conditions with transport to provide those displaced with food and other aid items. “Unlike the electricity, we operate full time and all our Caritas team members are in the field working around the clock,” said Fr Oswald Musoni , Director of Caritas Goma. “We have done assessments and have now started food distribution, provided by WFP in the largest camp. “The situation is still very fluid , people are not sure what will happen next, but all the schools, [...]
  • While all need to take their responsibility to address climate change, the world’s most advanced economies should take the lead, reducing emissions significantly.

Credits: UNFCCC
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    Doha summit must lay foundations for climate justice, Catholic development networks say

Doha summit must lay foundations for climate justice, Catholic development networks say

By |22 November 2012|

(Brussels/Rome, 22/12/2012) According to CIDSE and Caritas Internationalis, greater cuts in Green House Gas (GHG) emissions, money on the table to support the vulnerable communities most affected by climate change, and a clear work plan towards a global climate deal in 2015 are the main ingredients for a successful COP18 climate summit in Doha, Qatar (26 November -7 December 2012).  In order to pave the way towards a fair, effective and binding new climate deal in 2015, CIDSE and Caritas Internationalis, which represent 180 Catholic development agencies from North and South, say that Doha must deliver serious commitments and concrete progress. While all need to take their responsibility to address climate change, the world’s most advanced economies should take the lead, reducing emissions significantly. The Kyoto Protocol is currently the only binding global tool to reduce emissions, but many of the world’s biggest GHG emitters either don’t take part in it [...]

Catholic Church in Africa outraged by Congo violence

By |22 November 2012|

African Catholic Church leaders meeting in Kinshasa say that escalating violence in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo is causing a major humanitarian tragedy. Presidents of Bishops’ Conferences and Bishop-Presidents of national Caritas organisations from 34 countries in Africa signed a statement condemning the conflict, which has seen the city of Goma fall to ‘M23’ rebels on 20 November. The African bishops say, “We are outraged and shocked by the escalating armed violence in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo which is causing again a major human tragedy. “Thousands of men, women and children, the victims of this war which is imposed on them, are displaced and abandoned in destitution in Goma and its surroundings. They are exposed to the bad weather, hunger, rape and all kinds of abuses, including recruiting of children into the army. This constitutes an offence to their dignity as human beings and children of God.” Caritas staff [...]

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