Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Caritas launches international appeal for Haiti

Caritas has launched an emergency appeal for US$4.3 million (3 million Euros) for Haiti after a series of tropical storms devastated the Caribbean country.

Caritas has already begun helping the worst affected people despite it being difficult to reach cut off communities.

After four tropical storms in less than a month, 600,000 people are homeless and Haiti's death toll may never be known.

Caritas will give 20,000 people food aid and other relief items such as hygiene kits.

Caritas will provide temporary shelter, water and sanitation, and support to people affected by the severe weather and help restart their livelihoods.

Caritas will also manage 5 shelters, providing food, water, shelter, and the hygiene needs of 50 families in each shelter, as well as counselling, especially targeting children.

Gonaïves, on the west coast, is one of the hardest-hit cities. Caritas will support 500 families in Gonaïves, Jacmel and Les Cayes with construction materials for temporary shelters and latrines, training, and technical assistance.

Bishop of Gonaïves Monsignor Yves Marie Péan said, “Already many people have succumbed. Many more will die if we can’t get them the immediate support they require. Help us provide for these many victims through the continued efforts of Caritas.”

The series of natural disasters affecting Haiti comes at a critical time as the vast majority of the population is already struggling with rising living costs.

Caritas says that the 2008 hurricane season coupled with the increase in food prices has considerably impacted on people’s coping mechanisms. Hence, the need for support to Haiti’s population is needed more now than ever.

Caritas Internationalis is the umbrella organisation for 162 national Catholic charities, and will respond on the ground through Caritas Haiti and CRS (A Caritas member in the USA).

Caritas Haiti has 33 years of experience working on humanitarian response. It was created in 1975 by the Haitian Bishop’s Conference to respond to a nationwide hunger problem.

With the Caritas confederation support, Caritas Haiti has responded to many natural disasters, most recently Hurricane Jeanne in 2004.

Visit Catholic Relief Services (CRS) for more information in the US Catholic response to assist Caritas Haiti.

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