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Caritas Pledges US$50,000 to Burma/Myanmar Relief

Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand

9 May 2008

Caritas Pledges US$50,000 to Burma/Myanmar Relief

Catholic humanitarian agency Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand has pledged an initial US$50,000 (NZ$64,000) to an international Caritas response to the Burma cyclone.

Caritas director Mike Smith said its international network was working through Catholic Church partners in Myanmar, in direct response to the expressed needs of the Church in Burma/Myanmar. Church workers say they are looking at supporting an initial 60,000 families of various religions with one week's dry rations, water, cooking utensils, candles and shelter materials.

A Caritas Internationalis emergency response team has also been formed working in Thailand and Burma.

The Caritas Internationalis network comprises 162 Catholic relief, development, and social service organisations working in over 200 countries and territories.

Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand also works with the Thai-Burma Border Consortium (TBBC), providing food and shelter to people at the border displaced by difficulties within Burma.

Though not affected directly by the cyclone, the TBBC is concerned about flow-on effects of rice prices and availability on their long-term relief efforts.

"Our partner TBBC says even before the cyclone, they were facing a funding shortfall, and were looking at having to cut food rations to the displaced people by 50-75 percent," said Mr Smith. "It shows the fragility of the situation - and how disasters have flow-on effects elsewhere. We need to be concerned about all the Burmese people, and look to their long-term needs."

Donations to Caritas can be made in the following ways:

* Phone 0900 4 11 11 for $20 to be automatically debited from your phone account or

* 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.


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