Pope Increases Aid to Victims of Violence and Calamities

2002 Report of Pontifical Council «Cor Unum»

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VATICAN CITY, JULY 17, 2003 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II increased his distribution of aid in 2002 to relieve the sufferings of peoples affected by natural calamities or human violence.

The Pontifical Council «Cor Unum,» a Vatican organization entrusted with distributing the aid, gave a report today on the amount of money allocated and the beneficiaries.

Since the aid also seeks to create projects for development, at times their allocation has been accompanied by visits from Archbishop Paul Josef Cordes, president of «Cor Unum,» who evaluates the situations firsthand.

From Oct. 25-30 the archbishop visited Uganda and donated $561,600 for Catholic aid initiatives. Those initiatives include a home for the terminally ill, mostly AIDS victims, managed by Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity; homes run by the Good Samaritan Sisters for the elderly, disabled and terminally ill; the Centenary Vocational School; and the Nsambya Babies Home, which cares for orphaned or abandoned children under 6.

Archbishop Cordes visited the Holy Land from Nov. 7-10 to donate $400,000 in aid, for the needs of victims of violence.

The Pope’s donations have also reached Ukraine, which Archbishop Cordes visited last December, to support the work of Caritas and relieve the ongoing consequences of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

Last year, «Cor Unum» allocated $1.91 million (1.7 million euros) to peoples affected by natural or man-made calamities in 49 countries, the report said.

About $1.3 million of that aid was allocated to people affected by terrorism or war in Afghanistan, Angola, Azerbaijan, Burundi, Ivory Coast, Jerusalem, Lebanon, Libya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, the Central African Republic, the Republic of Congo, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Syria, the United States, Tanzania and Vietnam.

The remaining aid was allocated to victims of hurricanes, earthquakes, railroad disasters or economic crisis — the latter being the case of Argentina.

In addition, in 2002 John Paul II allocated $1.9 million (1.69 million euros) to respond to the urgent needs of communities in 48 countries. The sectors to which the aid was allocated are health, education, professional formation, agriculture-food, housing, children, elderly and women. In general, grants ranged from $4,000 to $13,000.

In early June Archbishop Cordes gave $150,000 on the Pope’s behalf to the Iraqi population.

Last year, the John Paul II Foundation for the Sahel, which combats desertification in that African region, donated 2.35 million euros ($2.64 million) for projects.

In 2002, the Populorum Progressio Foundation, for the integral development of Afro-American and indigenous peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean, allocated $1.89 million (1.68 million euros) to fund 223 projects.

The Pope’s 2002 allocation of aid increased thanks to the worldwide collection taken up on the Day of Prayer and Fasting, called by the Holy Father on Dec. 14, 2001, in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks.

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