Tag Archives: emergency

Caritas Internationalis Secretary General from Haiti

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-Haiti’s lost children

Diego Jean (12) who lives in the Lakoun centre for street children in Port-au-Prince. He doesn't know if his parents survived the quake and is too frightened to find out. Credit: Conor O'Loughlin/CARITAS

By Conor O’Loughlin, Communications Officer, Trócaire (Caritas Ireland), in Port-au-Prince

Haiti is not an easy place to be a child. It has the highest rates of infant, under-five and maternal mortality in the Western Hemisphere. Diarrhea, respiratory infections, malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS are the leading causes of death. Thousands of the country’s schools were ruined in the earthquake of January 12, and even before the earthquake only half of children attended primary school. Less than one in fifty finish secondary school.

As many as 2,000 children are trafficked to the Dominican Republic every year. Sometimes their parents cannot afford to look after them. Sometimes they are trafficked by force. Many end up working in the sex trade for western tourists and others end up in domestic service for little or no wages.

Often, those who stay fare little better.

Diego Jean is a little man of twelve. Continue reading

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Un mois après le séisme, l’effort continue en Haïti

People waiting for food distributions at 5.30 am in the Champs de Mars area of downtown Port-au-Prince. The distribution was being carried out by Caritas Haiti and partners for displaced people living in the shadow of the city's decimated Presidential Palace. Credit: Conor O'Loughlin/Caritas

Mathilde Magnier, Secours Catholique

A quelques jours de l’anniversaire du premier mois du tremblement de terre qui a décimé Haïti en janvier dernier, le gouvernement haïtien a publié des chiffres alarmants sur l’ampleur de la catastrophe dans le pays. Si l’on compte aujourd’hui plus de 230 000 morts, le bilan devrait augmenter rapidement dans les jours à venir, les décombres commençant seulement à être dégagés. A l’heure actuelle, on recense 300.000 personnes soignées pour blessures, 250.000 maisons détruites et 30.000 commerces perturbés.

Le prix des biens de consommation est de plus en plus élevé et les services arrivent à saturation. Le secteur le plus touché : celui de la santé, avec l’arrivée en masse de victimes du séisme grièvement blessées.
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Haiti one month on and ten years backwards

A woman holds a ticket to receive 50 pounds of rice at the Salesian Seminary in Port-au-Prince. Photo by Sara A. Fajardo/Catholic Relief Services

By Conor O’Loughlin, Communications Officer, Trócaire (Caritas Ireland) Port-au-Prince

As we approach the one month anniversary of the earthquake that decimated Haiti 12 January, the Haitian government has released updated figures that give a chilling account of the destruction.

The death toll stands at over 230,000 people, around the same number who were killed in the 2004 Asia tsunami (in 14 countries). With the rubble only starting to be cleared in Haiti, the figure can be expected to rise.

250,000 houses were destroyed and 30,000 businesses disrupted. Approximately 502,000 people remain homeless throughout Port-au-Prince alone, spread between 322 different camps.

The government fears it could take ten years to rebuild Haiti, one of the world’s least developed countries, to the same level it was 11 January. Reconstruction efforts will begin after the initial relief effort has finished, but we’re still in the initial phase.

The response, one of the largest seen anywhere in the world for years, is continuously adapting to the changing environment. Continue reading

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All quiet on the Darfur front

Vasca Sebit in white and group who are being trained in masonry as part of the joint Act-Caritas programme. Credit: Edwyn Shiell Act/Caritas

By Edwyn Shiell, Marketing & Communication Officer, Act for Peace

In November this year, I had the privilege of visiting Nyala, the Capital of South Darfur for two days.

In the exhausting heat of the day, women stroll around in the most amazing topes which paint the arid and dusty skyline with a magnificent pallet of purples, blues, yellows and greens.

They look immaculate as the sun dips in the West and falls to a chorus of the bustling markets and streets which animate Nyala Town. Donkey pulled carriages still populate the dirt streets and it’s an off day when the men sitting in groups, adorned in white jalabiyas don’t give you a firm, warm Sudanese greeting. A strong handshake which could outlast the sunset.

The silence in Nyala was disarming in the evenings. A great peace and calm washed over me as a huge sun descended on the dry, arid land and the knowledge that the there has been so much death in this region momentarily escapes me. The feeling of safety and security washes over me.

Singing and dancing bring the dirt street beside my guarded compound to life on the Saturday night. A wedding unfolds in the still Nyala evening and the sound is beautiful and enormous.  This place feels incredible and there is a desperate energy here that makes me smile. I feel safe and calm. It takes a moment for the smile to ease and remember the suffering which continues in Darfur.

It’s a tragedy which much of the world seems to have forgotten. Now relegated to infrequent media coverage and used as a buzzword for humanitarian hotspots, the ‘next Darfur’s’ of the world seem to have stolen the human element from this ongoing tragedy.
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Filed under Africa, Conflicts and Disasters, Emergencies, Emergencies in Darfur and South Sudan, Peacebuilding, Sudan

Debt victory for Haiti

CRS, a caritas member from the USA, delivers food to the Foye Ti Zanmi Jezi Orphanage. Photo by Sara A. Fajardo/Catholic Relief Service.

The G7 group, which includes the US, Canada, the UK, Germany, France, Italy and Japan, announced at the weekend that they will cancel Haiti’s US$ 1.2 billion outstanding unilateral debt.

Increasing pressure to do so were came from various NGOs, including Caritas Internationalis, for the international community to help Haiti recover from the catastrophic earthquake of January 12.

Caritas congratulates the G7 for their action and also applauds all the campaigners who put pressure on their governments for speedy action.

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Praying for Haiti

Kindergarten and first grade students of Catholic Academy in Granite Bay, CA. USA. wrote these prayers to share with the people of Haiti and all united around them in prayer.

First Grade Prayers:

Dear God the Father
You are the Father of all nations
Thank you for sending your Son, Jesus into the world.
Please bless Haiti. Keep them safe. Be with them in their troubles.
Most importantly, keep their faith alive.
Please take the people in Haiti who died into heaven.
We ask these things through Christ our Lord.
Amen.
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