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Caritas Confederation Pledges $US 28 million

Friday 31 December, 2004

Caritas Confederation Pledges $US 28 million to Tsunami Survivors

The Caritas Confederation, made up of 162 Catholic relief, development and social service agencies around the world have collectively pledged $US 28 million to assist those affected by the tsunamis that have ravaged the coasts of South Asia.

Included in this figure is the estimated $NZ 50,000 given so far by Caritas New Zealand donors. “New Zealanders have been very generous in their response to this terrible disaster, and it is expected that further donations will be received in the coming week.” said Mike Smith, Director of Caritas New Zealand.

Caritas partners from Europe have flown in supplies of medicine, food, water and other relief equipment together with teams of emergency specialists to assist Caritas agencies in India, Sri Lanka and Indonesia who have been working around the clock assisting the hundreds of thousands of people in need.

By working through established diocese and grassroots networks Caritas partners have been able to provide immediate relief and support.

In India, Caritas India has joined forces with Catholic Relief Services (CRS – Caritas USA) to respond to the disaster. They have established over 120 relief camps in churches, schools and community buildings along the Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh coastlines where they are able to distribute food, water, clothing and medical assistance to thousands of displaced families and individuals.

In the Nicobar Islands, a Caritas India/CRS medical team were one of the first to reach the region and were able to supply medical assistance to those injured following the tsunamis.

In Sri Lanka, Caritas Sri Lanka (Social Economic Development Centre - SEDEC) who have had a long history in providing relief activities related to the conflict situation, are using their diocesan links to distribute relief items. They have established relief camps in the dioceses of Galle, Batticaloa, Trimcomalee and Jaffna where food, water, shelter and medicine is being distributed among thousands of displaced families and individuals. The Caritas Confederation has also sent two Emergency Response Support Teams to the region to assist their partners on the ground.

In Indonesia, Caritas have sent staff from Jakarta to Medan and have established contacts with the local dioceses where they are also involved in distributing relief supplies. In the Indonesian province of Acheh, Caritas partner, Jesuit Refugee Services is working closely with Caritas Britain (CAFOD), Caritas Australia and Caritas New Zealand in coordinating their response, which has to date involved the distribution of relief materials around Banda Acheh.

“The scale of the disaster is such that no single agency can cope, and it is both wonderful and heart-warming to see aid agencies from around the world working together to support those in need.” said Smith.

Donations to the Caritas Asia Tsunami Appeal can be sent to Caritas, PO Box 12 193, Wellington, For credit card donations please call 0800 22 10 22, or visit our website www.caritas.org.nz or to make a $20 phone donation via your telephone account call 0900 4 11 11.

ENDS

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