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Caritas Responds To Cyclone Sidr Bangladesh

MEDIA RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CARITAS AOTEAROA NEW ZEALAND

20 November 2007

Caritas Responds To Cyclone Sidr Bangladesh

Catholic humanitarian agency Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand will provide $50,000 to its Caritas Bangladesh partner working to help survivors of super-cyclone Sidr.

Over 3000 people have died, and the figure could rise to 10,000. Millions have been affected.

“With 40 years experience in Bangladesh, and 4000 local staff, Caritas Bangladesh is well-placed to assess needs and respond immediately,” said Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand Director Mike Smith. “It was born out of a disastrous cyclone in 1970, and has been instrumental in disaster preparedness in Bangladesh, and the development of cyclone shelters which have saved so many lives in this latest storm.”

Food, drinking water and shelter are the immediate needs.

“Caritas Bangladesh started distributing food on Friday, straight after the cylone hit,” said Mr Smith. “Staff have worked quickly to identify local sources of food, and are sourcing shelter materials and other non-food items from further afield. Leaders and volunteers in its network of programs are also identifying the worst affected families - those who have lost everything and have nothing to eat.”

Caritas staff work alongside local people. Before the cyclone hit, volunteers and staff alerted people using loud hailers. Some field staff in affected sub-districts also spent the night in cyclone shelters alongside the people they work with. Many families are staying in the shelters because they have nowhere else to go.

“Homes and livelihoods have been destroyed. They need our help to rebuild,” said Mike Smith.

Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand is accepting donations from the public. 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.

ENDS.


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