When a natural disaster occurs in a third world country, no one is ready for it.
The human impact from natural disaster is often not realized until years after the event. Disasters hinder societies from moving forward, forcing a focus on immediate needs rather than long-term solutions to societal growth. Food, water, housing and infrastructure become the priority for many societies in the wake of disaster. Particularly in third world areas, natural catastrophes strip communities from whatever momentum they may have had in moving toward self-sufficiency. People fall deeper into poverty and dependence. The ramifications may span generations.
CATHOLIC WORLD MISSION in ACTION
Completed Disaster Relief Projects
The Balkans Flood
In 2014, heavy rains caused disastrous flooding throughout Southeast Europe, including Serbia, Croatia, and Bosnia. The Bosnian-American community rallied with Catholic World Mission to aid disaster victims in the Balkans.
Reported to be the worst flooding in more than a century, months of heavy rains in Bosnia and Serbia led to catastrophic mudslides, burying neighborhoods and leaving tens of thousands of people homeless.
Catholic World Mission teamed up with the Bosnian community in Georgia and Gwinnett County Sheriff’s department in Metro Atlanta to collect and ship a 40-foot container of relief supplies including pharmaceuticals.
With concerns over the spread of disease due to flooding, we collected dozens of boxes of hygiene products as well as high-value medicines to supply hospitals and help thousands of people left homeless and in immediate need.
The Bosnian-American community was quick to step up to aid and collect for their homeland, as many of these local residents know all too well the suffering the Bosnian people endured during the Yugoslav War.
Local officials were swift to provide support for this project. Corporal Bradley Smith, with Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Department, played a huge role in facilitating and expanding the community’s awareness for disaster relief donations. Stationed in the Balkans in the 1990s for the UN Peacekeeping mission, Corporal Smith has continued to hae a strong connection and dedication to the local Bosnian community for many years.
Present at the donation shipment and very much involved in collection efforts, Daliborka Losipovic, who was born in Croatia and now living in the U.S. has a strong affiliation with her homeland. See her full thoughts about the devastating flood and immense community participation in her interview below along with Corporal Bradley’s plea for assistance.
2010 Earthquake Still Affects Haiti
Haiti is a perfect example of how disaster perpetuates poverty. The devastation resulting from the 2010 earthquake has permanently affected Haiti. Tens of thousands of people displaced from their homes still live in Tent Cities throughout the country. Regnum Christi Missionaries plan to address the plague of perpetual poverty through providing opportunities for education and employment.
Tent Cities in the Port Au Prince area started out as temporary living quarters for victims of disaster, but have become permanent homes. They are homes without an official address and with little or no government support. 25,000 men, women, and children reside in the cramped village of Tent City, Acra, where unemployment is 90% and children have no access to school.
The combination of poverty, lack of employment and education, inadequate living quarters and little access to healthcare is the perfect storm for generational poverty.
Mission Youth is an apostolate of the Regnum Christi Movement which was started by the Legionaries of Christ. Mission Youth is dedicated to the welfare of the people of Tent City, Acra. Searching outside the box for solutions to complicated problems, the missionaries have sought out teachers who are residents of Tent City to serve as educators for the children of the village. Refurbishing an old make-shift temporary structure, the missionaries have fabricated a school house, built furniture and provided supplies for the children and teachers. Catholic World Mission is pleased to support the work of Mission Youth in Haiti.
Missionaries hope that a structured school program will provide opportunities for children who have spent their time in aimless activities while their parents roam the streets looking for work.
Thanks to Catholic World Mission donors, missionaries have been able to pay teachers directly for their work in the Tent City school house. CWM donations also allowed for purchases of supplies for missionaries to build school desks and benches, as well as beds for the residential areas. The dual benefit of providing both employment opportunities for some Tent City residents, as well as education for the children residing there, is an offering of hope for these victims of natural disaster.
The work in Tent City, Acra, has just begun for these missionaries, who are dedicated to improving the quality of life for the tens of thousands of people living there.
Great East Japan Earthquake & Tsunami
Disaster relief has also come in the form of assisting victims of the 2011 tsunami in Japan. Thanks to our donors, we were able to make a $25,000 donation to Caritas Internationalis to help people who instantly became homeless after the devastating affects of the tsunami. The coordinated, worldwide effort with Caritas Internationalis was a significant contribution to the overall healing of the devastated communities.
Our donors’ support helped further the massive effort towards Japan’s recovery through:
- Distribution of food and emergency supplies
- Volunteer efforts to clean up in the most affected communities
- Aid to small businesspeople to restart their work
- Specialized support to children, the elderly, and other vulnerable people