Tag Archives: climate

A decade in Darfur: challenges and progress

Caritas' local partner trains residents of a camp for displaced peoplein Darfur to repair water systems. Credit: Laura Sheahen for ACT/Caritas

Caritas’ local partner trains residents of a camp for displaced people
in Darfur to repair water systems. Credit: Laura Sheahen for ACT/Caritas

By Laura Sheahen

“When we first came here, we were getting water from the valley, seven kilometers away.” Muhammad is a long-time resident of a camp in Darfur for people who fled violence. He remembers what it was like nearly a decade ago, when thousands of desperate people first arrived. “Farmers were settled closer to the valley, so we couldn’t live where the water was. But when we went to get water, they helped us.”

Ten years later, hundreds of thousands of people remain in Darfur’s camps. They’d like to go back to their villages, but until they can, Caritas-funded programmes are making sure they can live in dignity. 2013 marks 10 years of keeping vulnerable Darfuris alive and making their lives better.

Water is one example of the progress that’s been made. Muhammad’s camp is on dry, dusty land—some thorn trees, scrub brush, and baobabs grow there, but not much else. “For a while we carried water from the unprotected wells dug in the valley, but then we got hand pumps,” says Muhammad. Drilling inside the camp was difficult because the water
level is deep, but a local partner managed it. “Water is right where we live now. It’s helped us a lot,” said Muhammad.

As the years passed, Caritas support helped the partner drill more wells and make water systems in many camps easier and more efficient.

“Next we got motorized water pumps, but had to get fuel to run them,” said Muhammad. By 2012, the camps could make use of an inexhaustible resource in hot Darfur: “Now all the water systems are solar-powered.” Scattered around Muhammad’s camp are tanks connected to wide panels of solar cells. All camp residents—there are over
35,000—use the water. Neighbours from the host community also benefit: they come by with metal barrels on donkey carts to fill up.

The water’s first use is for drinking. The climate can be so dry that people get dehydrated if they’re not careful, says a doctor at a clinic supported by Caritas. But the water also keeps animals alive, so that women can take donkeys on journeys to gather grass from greener areas. People can wash their hands and bathe more often,
preventing the spread of disease. A spillway from tapstands directs water to lemon and mango trees, creating a small gardenlike oasis between dusty paths in the camp.

The water means the ubiquitous dust can be put to use in other ways, too. Bakhita, an energetic woman wearing a blue dress and turban, stands ankle-deep in a mud puddle she’s churned up using water from a plastic jerry can. Beside the puddle, large bricks she’s shaped from the mud are drying. “I’ll use these to make a house,” she says. “If the water pumps weren’t here, we couldn’t make these bricks. I’d just be thinking about how to get water to drink.”

Darfuris who have spent years in the camps continue to struggle. It’s not the place they wanted to be home. But for now, it is. And for ten years, bit by bit, Caritas programmes have been working to make it better.

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Filed under Africa, Aid Success Story, Conflicts and Disasters, Disaster Preparedness, Emergencies, Emergencies in Darfur and South Sudan, Peacebuilding, Sudan

Youth make big climate splash in Oceania

A powerful video thank you to Caritas from Martin Leung-Wai, one of 14 young people Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand helped attend the biggest youth climate summit in New Zealand: PowerShift NZ-Pacific 2012

While the Doha climate talks were wrapping up, over 700 young people from throughout the Pacific came to this event in Auckland, to learn, be inspired, have fun and take action. Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand sponsored 12 from New Zealand and two from Vanuatu to attend. Continue reading

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Filed under Advocacy, Climate Change, Development, Food, High-Level Meetings and Events, New Zealand, Oceania

Niger on high alert as floods threaten


The Niger capital Niamey is on high alert as flood waters continue to rise.

Niger is on alert as flood water continue to rise.

The level of the Niger River has continued to rise from 506 cm on 22 November to 530 cm today and is expected to reach 580 cm within 10 days.

This will cause the flooding of 400 hectares, according to the government, including 40 hecatres in the capital Niamey. “We will be inundated” as of December 5, Niamey governor Aichatou Kane Boulama told a press briefing.


Lowlying parts are already underwater.

Previous floods in August and September claimed almost 70 lives across the impoverished West African country and made tens of thousands homeless.

The third-longest river in Africa, the Niger has a basin of more than two million square kilometres (772,000 square miles), which is home to more than 100 million people, from Nigeria to Guinea.

Bientôt la côte d’alerte

Le Niveau du fleuve Niger est a 506 cm à la date du 22 novembre 2012, a dit la Gouverneure de la région de Niamey, Mme Kané Aïchatou Boulama, dans un point de presse tenu ce mercredi 28 novembre. Selon les prévisions, au 5 décembre le niveau sera à 530 cm. A ce stade, a-t-elle affirmé, on parle de la côte d’alerte. Dans dix jours, le niveau du fleuve atteindra 580 cm, a souligné la Gouverneure de Niamey cette situation entrainera l’inondation de plus de 400 hectares, dont 40 hectares en zones habitées, dans tous les 5 arrondissements que compte région de Niamey.

Les quartiers les plus exposés sont Karadjé avec notamment Karadjé-Zarmangandey et Karadjé-Baguisto, Nogaré, Lamordé et Kirkissoye, et sont situés dans l’arrondissement V. Le site de relogement identifié pour la circonstance et en train d’être aménagé avec le concours des partenaires techniques et financiers pour permettre aux populations déplacées d’y vivre décemment, a précisé madame Kané Aïchatou Boulama.

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Filed under Africa, Conflicts and Disasters, Emergencies, Niger

Caritas dialogues with FAO and the EU about agroecology at COP18

By Adriana Opromolla

On Wednesday, November 27th, a coalition made of CIDSE, the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance (EAA), Misereor and the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) held a public seminar (“side event”) at the Qatar National Convention Centre. The event was aimed at discussing the current proposals, within the UNFCCC, to adopt policy decisions addressing the relation between agriculture and climate change, and to promote small-scale agroecology as a viable response . A number of representatives of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the EU were present and engaged in an interesting dialogue with the speakers. Continue reading

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Filed under Agriculture, Food

Mongolia goes to Doha

Girl with a herd that Caritas gave her family two years ago after they were hit by extreme frosts. Credit: Caritas Czech

Tegshbayar Sanduijav, agronomist and research officer at Caritas Mongolia, has flown all the way to Qatar, to participate in COP18 as a member of the CI delegation. This is his first COP, and his expectations are built on his experience of climate change in Mongolia. Continue reading

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Filed under Advocacy, Agriculture, Asia, Climate Change, Development, Food, High-Level Meetings and Events, Mongolia

Keeping faith in the climate talks

As the international climate negotiations re-open in Doha, should we keep faith in the possibility of a successful outcome despite the difficulties of brokering a deal among 194 countries?

By guest blogger Roeland Scholtalbers of sister network CIDSE

The buzz around the Copenhagen climate summit is a distant memory. Since December 2009, climate change has quickly moved down the priority list of many. In the midst of a deep global financial and economic crisis, tackling climate change unfortunately isn’t part of most governments’ efforts to fix their faltering economies. Continue reading

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Filed under Advocacy, Agriculture, Climate Change, Development, Food, High-Level Meetings and Events

Rio+20: conference reflections

By CIDSE/Florian Kopp

By James Stella

On entering the Rio+20 Conference centre, the participants are instantly greeted by an enormous blue coloured digital billboard displaying the extensive list of side events scheduled for the day.

Listed on the board one will find the name, location and time of the event. With events scheduled around the clock, from 9:00 in the morning to 8:00 in the evening, there are approximately 55 side events everyday with each having a duration of one and half hours.

Some of the wide array of topics include, ‘Glaciers and Sustainability in the Anthropocen’ by CEDHA, ‘Motorcycle Safety al Rio+20’ by Ecuadorian Motorcyclists Association; ‘The Forest Green Economy and South-South Cooperation’ by WWF International and an event presented by a Palestinian organisation that focused on sustainable development under the Israel occupation. Continue reading

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Filed under Advocacy, Brazil, Climate Change, Development, Food, High-Level Meetings and Events, Latin America