October 16, 2012

Caritas struggling to meet Syria crisis needs

By |16 October 2012|

Caritas Syria is struggling to meet people’s needs as the conflict situation in the country worsens. More than a year of conflict has left over one million people displaced in the country. Three hundred thousand have fled Syria, giving rise to increasing humanitarian needs across the region. Pascal Kateb, Director of Caritas Syria said, “The situation for Syrian people is dramatic . We need to do more to help as the humanitarian needs are increasing daily. Although we do our best we are not able to meet all the needs of the people who seek our help.” Caritas is reinforcing its response in all countries bordering Syria with particular focus on operations in Lebanon and Jordan. However, the increasing flow of refugees cannot be absorbed or integrated without straining the resources of the host communities. Life for most Syrians is very difficult, but Caritas is particularly concerned about the long-term effects on children [...]

Caritas helping flood-hit Philippines

By |12 October 2012|

Caritas is appealing for funds to help families in the Philippines, many of whom are living in temporary evacuation centres following massive floods. Heavy rains in early August left over 100 people dead and hundreds of thousands of families without shelter and food. Conditions are still very difficult with food scarce and many people unable to return home. Caritas will care for over 6000 families in five dioceses, providing food, hygiene items and cooking utensils. The cost of the two-month programme will be 352,050 euro. Priority will be given to vulnerable people such as pregnant women, the elderly, the disabled and child-headed households who have either lost their homes completely or whose homes have been severely damaged by water. Caritas’ work in the flood areas aims to prevent illness and further deaths caused by such difficult living conditions. When the floods first struck Caritas mobilised its network of diocesan centres and church volunteers [...]

Helping flood-hit Pakistan

By |11 October 2012|

Caritas has launched a three-month emergency programme to help families following severe flooding in Pakistan. The programme will cost US$1.4 million (€1.1 million). Heavy rains in August and September hit the provinces of Punjab, Sindh and Balochistan and have left hundreds of dead and tens of thousands of people homeless. Caritas in Pakistan will provide tents, blankets, food and medical assistance for the next three months to many people who are in difficulty. “People are facing many challenges following the floods,” says Amjad Gulzar, executive secretary of Caritas Pakistan. “Stagnant and contaminated water, lack of food and hygiene facilities all present serious risks to those living in temporary conditions and make people vulnerable to gastroenteritis, malaria and skin problems as well as other illnesses.” Six thousand families will be given tents by Caritas Pakistan until they can find more permanent accommodation. Nine thousand five hundred families will receive food and hygiene kits. People can [...]

Caritas appeals for help in famine-hit Somalia

By |10 October 2012|

Caritas is appealing for funds to help farming households in Somalia struggling with famine following a long-term drought. Funds will support Catholic Relief Services (CRS – a US member of the Caritas confederation) who are working with local partners on a five month emergency programme in the neediest areas of south central Somalia. CRS requires a total of US$2.6 million (€2 million) for the programme, which will run until March 2013. Of this, US1.9 million (€1.5 million) is sought among members of the Caritas confederation. “The nutritional situation is critical in some areas of southern Somalia,” says Malone Miller, country manager for CRS Somalia. “Many adults are eating just one meal a day and children also don’t have enough to eat. Families are selling livestock, borrowing money and migrating in search of food and work.” CRS will focus on providing food to 5000 agro-pastoralist households to support them until the next harvest in [...]

Caritas at the Synod of Bishops on evangelisation

By |8 October 2012|

Caritas Internationalis secretary general, Michel Roy, is participating in the Synod of Bishops at the Vatican which started on 7th October. The meeting will look at the theme of New Evangelisation for the Transmission of Christian Faith. Mr Roy has been invited to attend in the role of auditor and will make a contribution in the name of the Caritas confederation. “Charitable actions are a fundamental aspect of evangelisation,” says Mr Roy. “It is in charity that we find a real test to the faith that we proclaim and it is in the love we show others through charity that God reveals himself.” Pope Benedict opened the synod to 370 participants at the Vatican yesterday for three weeks of collaboration and spiritual reflection. Contact Michelle Hough, Communications Officer, at +39 334 234 4136 or hough@caritas.va

Governments must give hope to domestic workers

By |4 October 2012|

Caritas urges governments to ratify the international convention which encourages the better treatment and protection of domestic workers. The call comes as the International Day for Decent Work is marked on 7th October. The International Labour Organization’s Convention 189 protects domestic workers’ rights by limiting working hours, ensuring they have holidays and regulating international employment agencies among other things. But the Convention is only effective if it is ratified by countries with communities of domestic workers. To be ‘decent’, work should be an opportunity for the individual to contribute to society, while achieving personal development. It should be performed according to a set of fair rules, starting with the respect of the person performing tasks. Domestic work is done by poor women, many of them migrants or even minors, in private households. This means the workers are at risk from exploitation regarding over-work, poor pay and sometimes physical and mental abuse. Convention 189 [...]

September 25, 2012

Away alone: Protect children who migrate by themselves

By |25 September 2012|

Children migrating alone to other countries are vulnerable to abuse. Caritas calls for better protection for them and a stronger focus on their needs. Children migrate alone because their families want to protect them against violence or hunger, or want them to send money back to help the family. According to a 2010 study by Catholic Relief Services (Caritas member in the USA), abuses facing unaccompanied Central American children in Mexico ranged from robbery, extortion, intimidation, verbal abuse, and physical abuse, the last two being the most frequent. The CRS study says children suffered abuse while in transit, when apprehended, while in detention or during the deportation or repatriation process. Caritas members and church bodies in other parts of the world have reported similar situations of abuse. The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child will discuss the contents and implications of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in the context [...]

New Caritas communications system to help serve poor

By |18 September 2012|

Caritas Internationalis President Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga has launched a new internal web platform called ‘Caritas Baobab’ where Caritas members worldwide can connect and work together. Linking together staff in more than 160 countries, Caritas Baobab will streamline Caritas’ communication system and its ability to respond quickly to natural disasters and other emergencies, coordinate advocacy, provide training and share resources. “Caritas Baobab will provide state-of-the-art technology to help us serve the poor,” says Cardinal Rodriguez. “The more efficiently we can respond to emergencies, the more suffering we can prevent. The more people we can mobilize around one issue, the more chance we have of bringing about real change. In the modern world, fast, accurate information is key to our work. Caritas Baobab is about creating a platform so the right people talk to each other, come up with ideas and work together on delivering them.” The Caritas Baobab system, or ‘Baobab’ for [...]

August 23, 2012

  • Villagers fetch water from a water point constructed through a Caritas cash for work program.

Credits: Caritas Ethiopia
    Permalink Gallery

    Ethiopia drought relief work ‘still critical,’ says Caritas

Ethiopia drought relief work ‘still critical,’ says Caritas

By |23 August 2012|

Caritas is launching a new appeal to continue its lifesaving work in drought-stricken areas of Ethiopia. Its programmes will help farmers and herders produce more food, and will also improve water systems and infrastructure in remote areas. “The drought was at its worst in 2011, and its effects are still being felt in some parts of the country,” says Shiferaw Mamo, Social Development Programme Coordinator of the Ethiopian Catholic Secretariat (Caritas Ethiopia). “We can’t let up our efforts now.” The belg (small) rains expected in the first half of 2012 were poor, resulting in ongoing food problems in many farming areas. The government of Ethiopia recently indicated that approximately 3.76 million people require food assistance from August to December 2012. Caritas’ new programme, which is targeting more than 60,000 families, will give sheep, goats, cattle, bee colonies and chickens to families who lost livestock during the drought. To conserve the limited water [...]

In flooded Philippines, Caritas mobilizes emergency aid

By |13 August 2012|

As the Philippines struggles to cope with massive flooding, assessment teams from NASSA (Caritas Philippines) and Catholic Relief Services (a Caritas members from the USA) have visited the worst-affected areas. They spoke with flood victims now living in elementary schools, churches and gymnasiums that are being used as evacuation centres. “The majority of the families in the evacuation centres have houses that are submerged right now,” says Father Edwin Gariguez, Executive Director of NASSA. “They expect to stay at the centres for weeks or even months while their houses homes are still under water.” The centres are housing over 150,000 people. Most centres are overcrowded and lack adequate latrines and bathing facilities. Drinking water is also difficult to obtain. “There are long queue times for water supply,” says Father Gariguez. “There are rations of drinking water in some areas, but it is still insufficient, and sometimes people don’t have enough containers [...]

Syrian refugees: Caritas responds to growing crisis

By |10 August 2012|

As violence in Syria escalates, Caritas is caring for thousands of refugees who have spilled into neighbouring countries. Caritas has been helping Syrian refugees since the crisis started in 2011. Now, Caritas is scaling up its efforts in order to serve the increasing number of families who have fled their homes. In Jordan, Caritas is providing food, medical care, and items like blankets and diapers to refugees in Mafraq, Zarqa, Madaba, and beyond. In Lebanon, Caritas has a free mobile clinic that visits Syrian refugee patients, primarily in the Bekaa Valley. Social workers from the Caritas Lebanon Migrant Centre are distributing food and emergency supplies in the refugees’ makeshift tent camps, as well as to refugees living in apartments or old buildings in the Bekaa, in Beirut, and in other places. In some cases, Iraqi refugees who lived in Syria for years are now fleeing back to Iraq, where Caritas Iraq is [...]

July 24, 2012

  • Children need to eat nutritious food not only while taking ARVs, but also before starting treatment.

Credits: Hough/Caritas
    Permalink Gallery

    Eliminating New HIV Infections in Children: Report Assesses Catholic Organizations’ Engagement with Global Plan

Eliminating New HIV Infections in Children: Report Assesses Catholic Organizations’ Engagement with Global Plan

By |24 July 2012|

Washington, DC—A report assessing the engagement of Catholic organizations in The Global Plan towards Elimination of New HIV Infections in Children by 2015 and Keeping their Mothers Alive will be released to media at a press conference on Wednesday, July 25, at 3:00 pm. The study will also be presented that evening at 6:00 pm in the Faith Zone of the Global Village at the International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C. The report, based on a survey by the Catholic HIV/AIDS Network (CHAN), documents the involvement of Catholic Church-related organizations with National AIDS Programs and their awareness and involvement in the Global Plan. “The Global Plan seeks involvement from religious organizations to encourage early testing and treatment for pregnant women living with HIV and their children,” said Msgr. Robert J. Vitillo, Special Advisor on HIV/AIDS for Caritas Internationalis. “The study findings indicate challenges that must be confronted by governments and churches alike in [...]

June 12, 2012

G20 must tackle hunger by fighting its roots causes

By |12 June 2012|

The Caritas-CIDSE G20 Network of Catholic agencies says making sure all people have access to appropriate food must be the priority for the leaders of G20 economies as they meet 18-19 June in Mexico. There are 925 million people in the world without enough to eat. About 300 children die from malnutrition every hour while one in four children is stunted, and in developing countries that figure rises to one in three. Yet we produce more than enough food globally to feed everyone. The Caritas-CIDSE G20 Network says reducing inequality and promoting sustainable development must be at the heart of the G20s plans to address food insecurity in the short, medium and long term. Caritas Internationalis Secretary General Michel Roy said, “Hunger is not inevitable. It must be tackled by fighting its structural causes, primarily by promoting sustainable agricultural development of poor countries.” CIDSE Secretary General Bernd Nilles said, “The Mexican G20 has [...]

May 28, 2012

Peacebuilding conference in Rome

By |28 May 2012|

Catholic leaders from some of the world’s worst conflict zones will gather in Rome on May 29 and 30 to discuss ways to make peace. Participants representing Nigeria, Sri Lanka, Uganda, Somalia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and other hotspots will attend “New Challenges for Catholic Peacebuilding” to share methods that defuse violence and reconcile warring groups. “In South Sudan, the Philippines, and Congo, in the Middle East and Central America, the Catholic Church is a powerful force for justice and reconciliation,” says Cardinal Peter Turkson, President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, who is leading the meeting. “But this impressive and courageous peacebuilding often remains unknown, underanalyzed and unappreciated.” “We all hear about the bombs," says Michel Roy, Secretary General of Caritas Internationalis. “But much of our reconciliation efforts are related to longstanding internal situations of oppression and injustice.” Anticipating the 50th anniversary of Pope John XXIII’s encyclical Pacem [...]

Caritas congress seeks a future free from hunger

By |28 May 2012|

Caritas is hosting an International Congress on World Hunger and Food Security 1 to 2 June 2012 in Vienna, Austria to find global solutions to why 925 million people worldwide suffer from hunger. “Every 12 seconds a child dies of hunger. Hunger is not inevitable; the causes are social, economic and political,” said President of Caritas Internationalis Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, one of the keynote speakers. Delegates from around the world will discuss the structural causes of hunger, how aid agencies can intervene effectively and the fundamental right to food. The congress underscores that the fight against hunger is at the heart of the work of Caritas confederation in service to the poor and must also be a priority for governments. Food security will be important issues at the upcoming Rio +20 meeting and for the post Millennium Goals agenda. Caritas wants to unite the international community around the fight for the eradication of [...]