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Caritas responds to strife in Kenya


10 January 2008

Caritas responds to strife in Kenya

Catholic humanitarian agency Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand has pledged $10,000 to a Kenyan project partner affected by post-election violence in the east Africa country.

Caritas Director Mike Smith said the funds will go to Chiga parish, a rural area south of Kisumu city in Western Kenya where some of the worst violence occurred. Caritas has been supporting the parish’s work with children who have lost parents through AIDS.

Following the violence which erupted across Kenya, Chiga’s parish priest Father Maurice Awiti said humanitarian assistance needed to move in fast to avert a continuing crisis.

“Chiga Parish is a sea of people begging for money, food and clothing - people who have lost everything in the violence,” said Fr Awiti in an update to Caritas. Nearby Kisumu city had turned into a ghost town as businesses were burnt down, and shops looted. Life in the town centre was only slowly coming back to normal, but essential supplies are expensive, and it is hard to afford basic food items.

“The medical services are over burdened - there are no medicines,” said Fr Awiti. “The dispensary at the parish is almost closing down - they cannot manage the number of patients - they have no more supply of medicine …”.

People driven away from their homes by the violence are living round schools, police stations and churches, without access to medicine, clean water, sanitation and food. There have also been reports of sexual assaults against women and children. Ethnic tension still remains. “The hate and anger will take a long time to heal,” said Fr Awiti.

Caritas support will help Chiga parish meet immediate emergency needs in the situation.

Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand may also respond to an expected appeal from Caritas Internationalis for Kenya’s wider needs. Up to 250,000 people have been displaced.

Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand is accepting donations towards the Kenyan emergency. They can be made in the following ways:  Phone 0800 22 10 22 to make credit card donations or Donate online using a credit card at www.caritas.org.nz or

- Post donations to: Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand, PO Box 12-193, Thorndon, Wellington 6144, NEW ZEALAND.

Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand is a member of the Caritas Internationalis network of 162 Catholic relief, development, and social service organisations working in over 200 countries and territories.


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