Hurricane Task Force to Do Double Duty

WASHINGTON, D.C., SEPT. 26, 2005 ( The U.S. bishops’ task force that was set up to address the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina will also deal with the impact of Hurricane Rita, which hit the Gulf Coast.

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Archbishop Joseph Fiorenza of Galveston-Houston, Texas, chairman of the task force, made that announcement.

This task force of bishops and representatives of leading Catholic organizations which are collecting funds and carrying on relief work was established by the episcopal conference’s Administrative Committee to build on what is already in place and to seek to encourage and coordinate relief efforts.

Meanwhile, the president of Vatican-based Caritas Internationalis is expected to travel to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, this week to survey the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina.

Denis Viénot will be accompanied by a delegation of U.S. Caritas officials led by John Keightley from Catholic Charities USA, Thomas Chabolla from the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, and Father Bill Headley from Catholic Relief Services.

Heavy winds, rain, and flooding brought on by Katrina unleashed widespread destruction throughout the Gulf Coast states and forced millions of people from their homes. Officials from hard-hit Louisiana have confirmed nearly 800 deaths, bringing the overall death toll from the hurricane to more than 1,000.

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