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Caritas Committed To Canterbury Earthquake Recovery

Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand
Media Release – For Immediate Release
22 February 2013

Caritas Committed To Canterbury’s Long-Term Earthquake Recovery

Two years on from the February 2011 Canterbury earthquake, Catholic agency Caritas is maintaining a commitment to long-term recovery in the region.

‘Two years on.....and the deeper issues are only just surfacing,’ say two workers on Christchurch recovery programmes. Cinnermon Buckley is a specialist social worker with the Catholic Education Office, while Matt O’Connell is Earthquake Recovery Coordinator for the Catholic Diocese of Christchurch.

Matt and Cinnermon are now seeing more sustained problems which people have not been able to overcome, which require a longer recovery or rehabilitation process. Together with many workers and volunteers across the region, they help identify issues and work on the needs.

Meanwhile a programme run by the Waipuna youth agency to help Christchurch young people with serious housing needs is the latest to receive funding from Caritas’ earthquake recovery programme. Programme Coordinator Paul McMahon uses Facebook and text messaging to keep in touch with an often transient population, helping them with information, advocacy and the processes of dealing with Housing New Zealand, Work and Income, MPs’ offices and landlords.

‘We’ve been inspired by the resilience, tenacity and hope of people – often with problems themselves – who just get ‘stuck in’ supporting others and helping recovery,’ says Caritas Director Julianne Hickey. ‘It’s been a privilege to accompany and support dedicated people in Canterbury who are standing alongside those who suffer the most – especially those who were already vulnerable before the quake hit.’

Read more about Paul, Matt and Cinnnermon’s work here.

Since the 2011 earthquake, Caritas has allocated more than $700,000 of earthquake recovery funds, to support projects such as emergency toilets immediately after the quake, thermal wear, and specialist trauma counselling and social work.

Information on programmes funded is available here.
Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand is a member of Caritas Internationalis, a confederation of 165 Catholic aid, development and social justice agencies active in over 200 countries and territories.

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