Caritas has a permanent presence in most of the world’s disaster prone areas. Because it is already there on the ground, Caritas acts quickly and effectively to provide food and shelter, clean water and sanitation. Caritas has the networks and partnerships already in place to offer medical help and the comfort of counseling to the bereaved and bereft.
Local Caritas teams have local knowledge and expertise, often built up over decades. They have the strong foundations of the Caritas family – the fellow members of the confederation – behind them. A national Caritas can call for specialist staff and resources and funding by launching an Emergency Appeal.
Emergencies are becoming more frequent, often caused by the extreme weather brought by climate change. People are relentlessly stripped of their assets and are pushed deeper into poverty. So, as well as responding to their plight, Caritas believes in looking forward, building stronger, better prepared and more resilient communities. We help them with drought resistant seeds, flood defenses and stronger homes, which can withstand typhoons.
As with natural disasters, it is sometimes possible to see that an emergency caused by humans lies ahead. Caritas invests as early as possible in conflict resolution and peace building. Diocese bring opposing sides together and lead communities in praying for peace. Caritas funds radio stations and community groups which encourage peace building and conflict transformation. It provides practical skills training to persuade former fighters to leave their weapons behind.