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Caritas aid workers witness horror of Jenin

Caritas Australia partners Caritas Jerusalem, who have been distributing food, medicines and blankets to the people of Jenin have expressed their shock at the conditions they found and the plight of the refugees.

"Jenin is heartbreaking. It is shocking. I could not sleep after I visited there. I'm not angry, I'm very sad. Sad at what has happened and sad that the world appears to be ignoring the suffering of the Palestinian people," according to Caritas Jerusalem Director Claudette Habesch. "The world has to wake up to what has happened to the people of Jenin. It is a humanitarian disaster."

Ms Habesch described the hygiene as "terrible".

She said: "I had to walk through raw sewage because the sewage pipes have been destroyed. The smell of rotting corpses was overpowering. People have to live in this area, without rooms, without houses, without kitchens, without utensils, without blankets. We are very worried about disease."

The refugee camp at Jenin has seen some of the fiercest fighting in the West Bank during the last month. Palestinians claim civilians were massacred at the camp while Israeli officials say only a few dozen armed militants were killed. The UN is hoping to send a fact-finding mission to investigate.

Caritas Australia provides assistance to Caritas Jerusalem (18/4/02)
Caritas Jerusalem
Caritas Australia

Independent Catholic News

30 Apr 2002