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Caritas Australia mobilises to join El Salvador relief effort
    Caritas Australia has made an initial contribution of $20,000 from its Emergency Relief Fund to the relief efforts of our Caritas partners.
    A spokesperson for the organisation said its partner organisations in El Salvador are working on the immediate distribution of emergency supplies. She said they are reaching 5000 families with cooking supplies and personal hygiene products. Items such as shelter materials, water containers, blankets and cooking supplies have been distributed to four dioceses in the country including Santiago de Marķa, Zacatecoluca, San Vicente, and Sonsonate.
    The government of El Salvador has asked the El Salvadoran Catholic Church to take the lead on relief operations in the country. The country's bishops have made a plea to the people not to lose heart.
    Church solidarity for the victims of the earthquake has been very generous, with Caritas organisations distributing no less than $A616,523 in food and medical aid in the first three days after the quake.
    With more than 45,000 persons evacuated from their damaged or destroyed homes the emergency response of the Caritas network is focused on housing rehabilitation, and water and sanitation needs of the most vulnerable families and individuals in the affected areas.
    Although 77 shelters have been established throughout the country, the Caritas network is also working to reach those isolated by landslides along transportation routes.
    Caritas Australia is accepting donations for the victims of this earthquake. All donations received will be directed through our local partner agency, Caritas El Salvador. The tollfree number is 1800 024 413.