September 19, 2011
As I write, media coverage of the situation in the Horn of Africa, where the people are continuing to struggle against a murderous drought, is ever more rare.
But this silence has not prevented Catholics from across the country, and from every diocese, from contributing (as of September 16th) more than $ 4,7 million to DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE, the Canadian member of Caritas Internationalis, for emergency work in the most affected countries in the region.
As DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE is one of a select group of agencies recognized by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) as key responders to humanitarian emergencies, every dollar contributed by inidividuals to DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE between the middle of July and September 16th 2011 will be matched by the Canadian government towards relief in the Horn of Africa.
You may already assure all of the groups in your diocese (parishes, schools, groups and associations) who have sent, or have informed us of amounts raised on our behalf before September 16th, that their contributions to DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE for the Horn of Africa will be doubled.
I would also like to thank you personally for having encouraged the faithful in your diocese to respond with concern and compassion to the plight of hundreds of thousands of their sisters and brothers living so far away.
Please pass on our sincere thanks to those in your diocese who helped communicate the scope and scale of this tragedy to others, be it by adding DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE’s electronic banner head to the diocesan Website and/or by alerting the parishes and local media to DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE’s press releases and communiqués on the situation and on the work of our local partners in the afflicted region.
DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE has already committed $600,000 in food and emergency supplies to Caritas Ethiopia and Caritas Kenya, assuring them of our ongoing presence and partnership once the initial emergence phase has passed and continuing on into the vital reconstruction phase (i.e. the return to the land, seed planting and reengaging in agricultural activities). We are also currently in discussions with Bishop Giorgio Bertin, Bishop of Djibouti and the Apostolic Administrator of Mogadishu, to identify the most effective strategies for providing assistance in the volatile mix of conflict-plagued Somalia.
Allow me to express my gratitude for your support and generosity, as well as to all Catholics in your diocese for their prayers and solidarity. Thank you to all these compassionate people who never hesitate to share with their brothers and sisters in the South, whenever their lives and livelihoods are shattered by catastrophe.