Caritas Aotearoa NZ’s helping in Haiti and Afghanistan

Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand has joined with the Caritas International network to provide practical help to people in Haiti and Afghanistan.

Julianne Hickey, who is the director of Caritas in New Zealand, says the turmoil in Haiti and Afghanistan “requires a global response as these crises unfold against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our global network of Caritas agencies enables us to reach out and help in most places around the world. Caritas is there working with displaced people and vulnerable communities in great need,” she says.

Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand has already pledged $10,000 each to Haiti and Afghanistan. It is also receiving donations to its general Emergency Fund which can be tagged for either or both countries.

The two international crises – though of entirely different causes – have resulted in deaths, widespread destruction and homelessness.

In Haiti a 14 August earthquake killed more than 700 people and injured more than 2,800. Many others are missing. Churches, schools and hospitals are among the 1000-plus “razed” buildings razed to the ground.

Caritas Haiti has mobilised teams to reach areas most affected by the quake and is assessing the damage and the needs of people in different parts of the country.

“The entire Caritas Haiti network, especially the emergency team, is participating in coordination and aid operations in the three affected departments,” says Caritas Haiti director Father Jean-Hervé François.

Francois says the country’s needs are immense. Urgent requirements are basic: food, water, tents, hygiene kits and first aid.

Meanwhile, thousands of people in Afghanistan have been displaced and need support in the midst of a rapidly changing, volatile conflict.

The road to New Zealand’s contribution to the Caritas effort in Afghanistan funnels through Catholic Relief Services (CRS), which is a US-based Caritas member. CRS has a 23-year history of providing humanitarian help in the country.

In addition, for several years Aotearoa New Zealand Caritas’s reach has extended to helping provide rural development assistance in Bamyan province in Afghanistan. There, the charity has been promoting soil and water conservation to improve farming, and savings groups to provide food and earn income from crops, sewing and handicrafts.

Caritas will send donated funds to its partners on the ground in Haiti and Afghanistan. Donations can be made through the Caritas website or by calling 0800 22 10 22.



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