Statement from the Sudan Catholic Bishops’ Conference
Be calm but vigilant… (1 Peter 5:8)
7th April 2011
We the Sudan Catholic Bishops’ Conference, gathered in Extraordinary Plenary assembly in Juba, South Sudan, from 1st – 7th April 2011, have prayed and reflected together on the situation in our beloved Sudan. Mindful of our responsibility as prophets and shepherds at this crucial time, we offer you these words of encouragement and advice during the Season of Lent as we anticipate the Easter Joy of the Resurrection.
In a previous statement, we said, Sudan will never be the same again. This has come to pass in the most concrete way, as we await the formal Declaration of Independence of the South and the formation of two new countries on 9th July 2011. However it is also true in a deeper way. The people of the South have had the opportunity to determine their own political future. This is a basic expression of human dignity. We call upon all the citizens, politicians, security forces and leaders of the two countries to respect human life and dignity, and to build the future based on these God-given values.
Caritas is doing everything it can in an urgent battle to contain an outbreak of cholera in Haiti. Over a thousand people have died so far. The UN predicts that 200,000 people could end up being affected by the disease.
Over 16,000 cases have been referred to hospital. That’s put an even greater burden on Haiti’s overwhelmed health resources, already struggling to rebuild after the 12 January earthquake.
One problem Caritas medical centres are facing is the number of new patients, the other is that cholera victims need special beds.
Gonaives is at the heart of the outbreak. There Caritas is supporting carpenters building beds for cholera victims. Eight beds earns you enough food for a family for a month. The project has been so successful other hospitals and clinics are requesting the Caritas beds.
So far 160 beds have been built in this one project, and they’re now looking at producing smaller beds for children with cholera.
Caritas is also providing hygiene kits and aqua-tabs, as well as putting up posters, giving out advice in church, and running public health messages on the national radio station.
A Caritas team testing water bladders in Nambanam Camp, in Port-au-Prince. Credit: CARITAS/Mathilde Magnier
A cholera epidemic in Haiti has killed hundreds and infected many more. Caritas is working with the government and other humanitarian aid agencies to try to stop the epidemic spreading further and killing more people. Cholera is spread by contaminated water. The challenge of containing the outbreak is great as Haiti is still trying to rebuild after an earthquake 12 January that destroyed hospitals, water supply and sewages, and left over a million homeless.
By Dolores Halpin-Bachmann, Caritas Emergency Response Team Coordinator, from Port-au-Prince
The main thrust of the Caritas and Church response to the cholera outbreak is a broad public information campaign outlining key hygiene measures to avoid contracting or spreading cholera.
This is being done on several levels and through all available channels.
For example, the Bishops Conference and Caritas have developed key messages in line with the Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines.
These are being broadcast several times a day on national radio channels. These messages are also being communicated at all masses, parish meetings, church group gatherings by parish priests. Caritas staff and volunteers are also working with community-based groups, camps, church-run community health stations, clinics, across the country to promote how best to safeguard against cholera. Continue reading
Building saker homes in Myanmar
By Caritas Australia
The monsoon is coming again to Myanmar. This change in seasons signifies a year has passed since Cyclone Nargis wreaked its havoc on the country.
Despite the many successes of the emergency response the situation is still dire for many of those affected. Tens of thousands of families will face this years rainy season with only makeshift shelters for protection. Others have not yet regained their livelihoods. The memories of Cyclone Nargis are still raw.
The dioceses of Yangon and Pathein were the worst affected with almost 140,000 people killed or unaccounted for. The immediate influx of money and solidarity to the Cyclone Nargis Appeal was vital to the emergency response capacity of the local Caritas offices, known as “Karunas”.
Solidarity and resilience
Rosemary Pikko, Emergencies Coordinator of the National Karuna Office, or “KMSS” (Karuna Myanmar Social Services), says that an unprecedented sense of solidarity and resilience has grown in the affected areas thanks to the support offered by the Caritas response.
Yesterday (17-04-09) at 19:30 hours (local time) cyclone Bijli started crossing Cox’s Bazar – Chittagong coast of Bangladesh and completed by 24:00 hours. In its pathway it became weakened gradually. Cox’sBazar – Chittagong coastal areas experienced wind speed of 100 kph with heavy rain. The storm triggered high waves (tidal surge) from the Bay of Bengal, which reached up to three meters above the normal tide. Heavy rain and gusts swept Cox’s Bazar town. The storm also swept over several offshore islands.
Thousands of thatched houses and hectares of Boro (local variety of paddy) cropland were damaged. A lot of trees were uprooted in the coastal Upazilas and Islands of Kutubdia, Moheshkhali, Cox’s Bazar Sadar, Pekua and Chakaria. In Pekua Upazila of Cox’s Bazar district, a boy (9) was killed and his sister (12) injured when a tree fell on them.
The cyclonic storm Bijli was less strong than the Sidr that hit 15 November 2007. Our Regional Offices are now conducting rapid assessment on the situation. Based on the findings of the rapid assessments Caritas will decide for the circulation of Emergency Appeal.