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Thursday, December 8, 2016
CAFOD help reaches areas worst hit by Asia tsunami
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¬†CAFOD is working hard to deliver aid in the most badly affected areas of India, Sri Lanka, and Indonesia following the Boxing Day earthquake and tsunamis. CAFOD staff report the destruction across affected coastal areas of the Indian Ocean is "cataclysmic". In Sri Lanka, CAFOD's Emergency Officer Alistair Dutton said: "People have lost everything. Schools, hospitals, homes, businesses, even whole villages have been washed away. They have lost family members and friends. At least 9000 children have been killed. People are living in camps dependent on outside help. Many people I have met are highly traumatised. Many children have lost both parents. There is a great need for counselling." CAFOD and the international network of Catholic aid agencies Caritas are trucking and flying in food, fishing equipment, soap, and clothes to the Trincomalee, Batticoloa, Jaffna, and Galle areas. At the moment it is estimated that Caritas will feed 50,000 people for at least two to three months. CAFOD and Caritas will provide shelter for 12,000 families and toolkits for 6000 families, as well as medicines and medical equipment, and trauma counselling. CAFOD is committed to working within the local communities on long-term rehabilitation. In the first year, it will continue with food aid, plus education for 4,500 children, construction of permanent shelter for 5,000 families, provide sanitation facilities for 4,500 families, and fishnets and boats for 9,000 families. In India, Caritas Communication Officer Monika Kalcsics said aid efforts are well underway with emergency kits being distributed to over 200,000 survivors. She said: "The biggest need is ensuring people have enough to eat and some shelter. Medical teams are working in the camps in an attempt to stop the spread of disease." Caritas launched a massive relief operation at the outset of the disaster with immediate vital relief reaching people in Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Caritas has established a total of 211 camps and are serving 226 villages in desperate need of water, food, shelter and clothing specifically in Tamil Nadu. This has been followed up with the distribution of special emergency kits. Each £15 kit consists of rice, dhal, oil tea, salt and milk powder. The kit also contains traditional clothing, kitchenware, bed sheets, towels and a tarpaulin. For example, 3,000 emergency kits have been distributed in the Madras area helping about 15,000 people. The aim is to eventually reach 170,000 people in that region alone. In Indonesia, CAFOD's Head of International Programmes Catherine Sexton has been planning CAFOD's response in Aceh, where 100,000 people have died. She said: "The people who lived close to the shore did not stand a chance. All the houses up to 100 metres in from the coast were completely destroyed. It must have come as a complete shock." As well as providing immediate emergency relief two trucks of fuel, food and badly needed medical aid and setting up communal kitchens - CAFOD is supporting tracing operations for lost family members in areas outside the main towns. Catherine Sexton said Aceh will need huge reconstruction efforts and CAFOD are committed to staying for the long haul.
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