Tag Archives: appeal

Why Syrians become refugees: a view from Aleppo

Bishop AudoBishop Antoine Audo, SJ is the Chaldean Bishop of Aleppo and the President of Caritas Syria. He writes:

If you want to know why so many Syrians are seeking a new life in Europe, just come to Aleppo. Large parts of our city have been laid to waste. Bombs and rockets fall every day, and we never know when or where they will hit. We do not feel safe in our homes, in our schools, in the streets, in our churches or in our mosques. It is exhausting to live with this fear hour after hour, day after day.

Even without the shelling, life here would be almost unbearable. Throughout the summer, as temperatures have soared, people have been forced to cope without running water or electricity in their homes. Four out of five people don’t have a job, so families are not able to afford food or basic supplies. The middle-classes have become poor, while the poor are now destitute. Many of those who are still here are elderly. Almost no-one is still in Aleppo by choice: most of those who remain do not have enough money to leave.

I have been the Chaldean Bishop of Aleppo for 25 years, and it fills me with sadness to see what has happened to my city. As President of Caritas Syria, I have chosen to stay so I can lead distributions of food and emergency supplies, with support from Catholics in England and Wales and their aid agency CAFOD. But our work is becoming harder, because more and more of our staff are leaving the country. I do not blame them, but their departure makes the task of helping those in need even more difficult.

Donate to our refugee crisis appeal

In some parts of the country, we have had to suspend our operations. In 2014, my colleagues in the city of Hassakeh provided vulnerable Syrians of every faith with vouchers for food, clothes and school equipment as well as covering the costs of medical treatment. In total, they reached over 20,000 people. But this July, as the city fell to extremists, all our staff had to flee at short notice. One of my colleagues had given birth only three days beforehand. Continue reading


Filed under Middle East

Nepal earthquake: three months on

nullThree months since Nepal was devastated by an earthquake, CAFOD’s Nana Anto-Awuakye visited a community receiving support thanks to your donations. She writes:

As we bump along the narrow potholed roads in Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu, heading east for a village in the Kavrepalanchok district, it’s hard to imagine that this bustling city, along with the rest of the country, was struck by a violent earthquake just three months ago.

The earthquake that hit on 25 April shattered lives and reduced ancient and modern buildings, as well as family homes, to rubble within a matter of minutes. It left almost 9,000 people dead and thousands of others injured.

Not more than three weeks later, amid the ongoing rescue efforts and emergency aid distributions, another powerful tremor shook the country, claiming more lives and adding to the human suffering.

Donate to our Nepal Earthquake Appeal

It is testament to the Nepalese people that today you find terracotta bricks from collapsed buildings in Kathmandu organised into neat piles ready for re-use. It is only as you head out of the city on the tarmac road that you see structurally unsound, lopsided buildings, and houses cracked beyond repair. Seeing them jolts you into remembering the devastation the earthquake unleashed.

I ask our driver Rayesh how the capital has been cleared up and brought back to normal so quickly.

“We came together as a nation because we did not want to be defeated by this earthquake,” he says. “But you will see that in remote areas things are different.” Continue reading

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Filed under Asia, CAFOD, Emergency

Lent 2015: Why I’m doubling my baking

Cupcakes to raise money for CAFOD's Lent Appeal

Strawverry cupcakes to raise money for CAFOD’s Lent Appeal

Laura works in CAFOD’s communications team in London. She tells us why she has decided to do double the baking this Lent to fundraise for CAFOD

I’ve always loved baking. But I’ve been doing a lot more since I became a mum. That’s why I’ve decided to double my baking this Lent to raise money for CAFOD’s Lent Appeal.

Since I had my son Alfie, who is now two years old, I’m at home in the evenings more anyway and I find baking a great way to relax and unwind after a busy day. Not to mention the treat of a home-baked cake that you get to share with your family at the end. And I like the thought of Alfie having a treat where I know exactly what’s gone into it, with no nasties.

Give to CAFOD’s Lent Appeal

There’s something so calming about baking that I don’t find with other cooking. Maybe it’s the precise measurements and instructions that give me a sense of control in a chaotic world. Or that every time you take a freshly-baked cake out of the oven, you can’t help thinking that a little bit of magic’s happened. The sloppy mess that went into the tin transforms into a spongy, golden, morsel that smells deliciously of warm, sugary sweetness.

Fundraise in your parish or school with our Fast Day resources

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Filed under Asia, CAFOD, CAFOD Westminster, Climate Change, donate, Emergency, Family, Fast Day, fundraising

Boxing Day tsunami: the lessons we have learned

Matthew Carter, CAFOD’s Humanitarian Director, reflects on the devastating events of 26 December 2004 and what we have learned in the decade since.

Please pray for all those whose lives were torn apart>>

27747On Boxing Day ten years ago, I was, like many people, taking a Christmas break. My family and I were staying in our normal Christmas hideaway – a very remote croft on the Isle of Skye. I remember texts coming in on my phone early in the morning from a friend and colleague in India saying there had been a massive tsunami. But it wasn’t until a few hours later that the scale of the disaster started to unfold.

I vividly remember coordinating the CAFOD response from a tiny attic bedroom in the cottage, set amongst a wild landscape and deep in snow. My three-year-old daughter sat downstairs next to a roaring fire, playing with her Christmas toys, while my son of just three weeks lay sleeping next to me. There was a sense of bizarre calmness, while on the other side of the world there was total destruction and appalling human loss. In the province of Aceh in Indonesia, over 170,000 people lost their lives.   Continue reading

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Filed under Asia, Emergency, tsunami

Philippines typhoon: Amalia’s story

Thanks to your donations, we have worked with local carpenters to build permanent homes.

Thanks to your donations, we have worked with local carpenters to build permanent homes.

One year since Typhoon Haiyan (known locally as Yolanda) hit the Philippines, we have helped thousands of people move into new homes.

Find out about the typhoon and our response>>

“I thought Typhoon Yolanda would be like other typhoons,” says 83-year-old Amalia. “But it was more like four typhoons in one.”

Amalia, who lives on the northern tip of the island of Iloilo in the Philippines, shudders as she remembers the roar of the wind: it was deafening, she says, like the revving of a bus engine amplified many times over.

With her roof about to be blown away above her, Amalia’s son urged her to take shelter in their duck-house, which he thought would be stronger than her bamboo home.

“I didn’t want to go outside, luckily,” Amalia says. “The duck-house was the first thing to be destroyed.”

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