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.
Our key areas on Conflicts and Disasters are:
Caritas has a unique global presence – one million staff and volunteers – guided by compassion.
When disaster strikes, it acts quickly and effectively to provide food and shelter, clean water and sanitation, 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 – to call on for additional help. A national Caritas can ask for specialist staff, resources and funding by launching an Emergency Appeal.
Caritas also believes in being as ready as is possible to respond to emergencies by building preparedness and resilience. Stronger communities are more able to resist repeated natural disasters. Otherwise, the extreme weather brought by climate change will push people deeper into poverty. Caritas also invests in peacebuilding and conflict transformation programmes to ensure that lives and livelihoods are not lost in an emergency caused by conflict.
Making and maintaining peace are not easy jobs. There are many hurdles along the way and a conflict being transformed into peace can quickly reignite.
Caritas believes deeply in peace building and invests in both practical and spiritual conflict prevention and resolution programmes to save lives and developmental gains. There is a growing urgency to this important work. Increasing inequality, high food prices and climate change will add to the competition for scarce resources and stoke conflicts. The scarcity and misuse of land can also pit communities and countries against each other.
Caritas tackles the root causes and brings communities together to make peace. It trains parish workers and volunteers in reconciliation and peacebuilding, providing them with the tool-kits and equipment – even down to bicycles! – to do the job.
Caritas thinks ahead, helping local communities alongside displaced ones to prevent conflict beginning between the two. Caritas provides skills training, education and housing – helping people get back home together, back to working and learning. Above all, Caritas changes attitudes to stop the embers of conflict becoming the flames of war.
Caritas knows that preparedness is a wise investment, greatly reducing the impact of natural disasters.
It means using our resources efficiently and harnessing the knowledge of our staff to stop a crisis becoming an emergency.
We have plans and supplies already in place so that we are ready to help in the crucial first hours after a disaster. We also work with local partners and communities to think ahead – building hurricane and earthquake resistant homes and schools, flood defences and community granaries.
As our changing climate means that some of the world’s poorest areas are being hit more frequently and more violently by extreme weather, disaster preparedness is becoming even more important.
With better disaster preparedness, we can save lives and livelihoods and make people better able to cope with crises.