Caritas Development in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is appealing for just over $120,000 to rebuild the homes of some 35 families made homeless by a powerful hurricane that swept through the eastern city of Popokabaka in early February. Caritas Congo originally sent out an appeal for just over $20,000, but the costs of rebuilding have been much higher than expected. Funding came in to cover the entire amount of the first request. Caritas Congo also reported that as of mid-March, neither the government nor international NGOs had taken action to bring food or other relief to those made homeless by the storm and continuing rains, which are expected to remain heavy through April. Families who lost their homes are currently being housed by host families. Some priests have also had to stay with host families since the storm, making it difficult for them to minister to the needs of the victims. Caritas Congo will put the money toward repairing the roofs of people's homes, as well as stabilising the foundations and frames of nine primary and secondary schools damaged by the storm. Caritas Congo will do the same for two of its own buildings that provide social services to the local people. Caritas Congo says that in the meantime, students are mostly continuing with their classes out-of-doors. A few schools have suspended classes so students and teachers won't have to be exposed to the elements. The people also lost any food stores and have had most of their crops destroyed. Caritas Internationalis is a confederation of 162 Catholic relief, development, and social service organisations (including CAFOD, SCIAF and Trochaire) present in over 200 countries and territories.
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