ROME, OCT. 13, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Some 300,000 people affected by natural disasters that have in the last two weeks devastated regions of Asia and the Pacific are receiving humanitarian aid through the Caritas network.
Local Caritas agencies in Sumatra, Cambodia, India, the Philippines and Samoa are implementing in their respective countries the emergency plans devised to identify the most urgent needs of the victims and the most vulnerable areas.
In general, the priorities of those affected are similar: urgent food and health aid, drinking water, household goods, warm clothing, building materials and psychological-social support for victims.
In Sumatra, Caritas Indonesia (KARINA) is helping 7,500 households (some 40,000 people) in the areas most scourged by the earthquake of last Sept. 30. A Joint Caritas Response Team, specialized in emergencies, is working in the districts of Padang and Pariaman, where they have identified priority areas in the towns of Sungai Sariak and Lurah Ampalu.
In addition to these victims, the Caritas team is also helping 10,000 victims in parishes in the city of Padang. The total estimated cost of the first phase of the emergency plan of Caritas Indonesia is €235,000 ($348,510).
Among the ongoing emergencies in Asia, the one affecting the southern Indian states of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, due to the heavy rains of the last few weeks, has the greatest number of victims. Around 18 million people are affected and 2.5 million have been displaced, while 250,000 homes have been destroyed.
Caritas India has responded to this emergency with a plan valued at €1.5 million ($2.2 million), with which humanitarian aid will be given over the next three months to a population of 35,500 families (some 200,000 people) in more than 700 localities of nine districts.
The activities included in this emergency plan include the urgent distribution of water and food and the furnishing of family allotments of hygiene products, as well as the distribution of household goods, clothes and blankets.
In Samoa, where the tidal wave of Sept. 28 left thousands of people homeless, Caritas has prepared an emergency response plan amounting to an initial value of €145,000 ($215,000) to help the most affected communities.
Caritas Samoa, which has the support of experts from Caritas Australia, reported that in addition to the distribution of basic aid to the victims, in this first phase of the emergency they are giving priority to the psychological-social support of those affected, the recovery of educational activities and the delivery of temporary shelters.
For their part, Caritas of the Philippines and Cambodia continues to implement their respective plans in response to the emergency caused in both countries by Typhoon Ketsana. Whereas in the Philippines, the Caritas network plans to assist a population of 50,000 victims over the next three months, in Cambodia the population being assisted numbers 13,000 people.
All these emergencies are being supported financially by Caritas Spain, which over the past two weeks has approved allocations amounting to €50,000 for the appeal made by Caritas India, €100,000 for the emergency in Sumatra, €50,000 for Cambodia, €20,000 for Samoa and €100,000 for the Philippines.