Caritas responds to worldwide emergencies
2017 is shaping up to be a devastating year due to environment-related disasters. From severe monsoon rains in South Asia, to Mexico’s record-breaking 8.1 magnitude earthquake, to the recent destruction of Hurricane Irma in the Caribbean, events of August and September have spelled out the need for immediate and sustained action to help respond to emergencies and rebuild communities.
“All around the world we are seeing extreme weather events which are impacting millions of people. Caritas, with its global reach is able to be on the ground quickly and to work closely with local communities” said Caritas CEO, Julianne Hickey.
In South Asia an estimated 40 million people have been affected due to floods caused by monsoons. Entire villages in India have remained submerged since mid-August while in Pakistan, floods have caused a rise in Dengue fever cases. Authorities have described it as the region's worst flood in 40 years, with a metre of rain falling in just a few days.
Across the world, the most powerful earthquake to hit Mexico in a century killed approximately 96 people. The 8.1 magnitude quake’s epicentre was in the Pacific Ocean—120 kilometres off the coast. Around 1.85 million homes were affected due to loss of electricity, while others were lacking water for up to two days.
Further east, the most powerful Atlantic hurricane (registering at a category 5), has devastated the Caribbean. Hurricane Irma has caused 82 fatalities and over 62.67 billion USD in damage. 265,000 people were affected—left homeless and without drinking water. Hurricane Maria (a category 5) currently threatens those already affected by Irma, with winds exceeding 250km/h.
“In addition to floods, earthquakes and hurricanes we are seeing the development of a refugee crisis in Bangladesh. This also requires and urgent response. Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand is using funds on hand for emergencies to provide assistance to people whose lives have been turned upside down by these events,” said Ms Hickey.
Over 400,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled Myanmar to Bangladesh since violence broke out in Rakhine state. Many Rohingya camps have been overwhelmed with the influx of refugees in late August. With the increased number of refugees and the monsoon-related floods, Bangladesh has struggled to meet the basic needs of the Rohingya in camps. Rohingya refugees are facing starvation.
Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand is part of one of the largest humanitarian networks in the world. Through the Caritas Internationalis network we are able to partner effectively to address immediate food, water, shelter, sanitation, and health needs of the most vulnerable populations. Funds received from our general emergency fund will address the needs of those affected by these emergencies worldwide.
*If donating online, select General Emergency Fund