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Caritas acting on Africa's 'tsunami toll every week'

"In Africa alone, the tsunami's death toll is repeated each week through conflict, the effects of preventable illnesses such as malaria, malnutrition and lack of access to clean water," Mr Jack de Groot, National Director of Caritas Australia said in a statement ahead of today's launch of the annual Project Compassion Lenten Appeal.

For many years Caritas Australia has funded aid and development projects directly in the region that was affected by the tsunami.

"As we move into Lent we are faced with a huge task - we must help the tsunami victims rebuild their lives and at the same time maintain our existing work with the impoverished people we already support," he said. "That is why we have a very strong call to action this year - 'The challenge is poverty the time is now', he said.

Project Comnpassion is the major fundraising activity of Caritas Australia. Last year it raised $6.9 million.

This year's appeal is being launched this week in various locations around Australia. In Sydney's Parramatta Diocese, stars of the Penrith Panthers Rugby League Club will today join the students of Caroline Chisholm Catholic College in tossing pancakes.

Maitland-Newcastle Bishop Michael Malone will launch the appeal tomorrow during a creative presentation involving students from St Pius X High School, Adamstown. The presentation will feature some real life 'Good News' stories from El Salvador, Cambodia, Bougainville, Sudan and Indigenous Australia made possible through Caritas Australia.

Mr de Groot said: "I was very moved when we were doing the research for our piece on East Timor. Chief of Nefomtasa, Jose Seco, whose community was destroyed five years ago asked: 'please don't let Australia forget us'.

"And we won't. That's the thing about Caritas Australia. We commit long-term, so we are still there after the people are no longer in the headlines and their country is no longer making news," he said.

"But in order to do this we need your help. We need your support for the work we are doing so that we can continue to improve the lives of those who live in poverty," he said.

Donations to Project Compassion will allow Caritas Australia to continue to provide opportunities for the people of Bougainville to help them rebuild their lives. The number for the Donation hotline is 1800 024 413.

The challenge is poverty the time is now (Caritas Australia 4/2/05)

Caritas Australia - Project Compassion

Lenten appeal to use resources out of love, not fear (CathNews 24/2/04)
Pell launching major Caritas appeal with peace call (CathNews 5/3/03)
Caritas appeal launch highlights refugees' hour of need (CathNews 13/2/02)

The challenge is poverty: the time is now! (Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle 7/2/05)
Sudan Crisis far from over, warns Sudan expert (Caritas Australia 7/2/05)
Project Comnpassion 2005: 'Chance to 'magnify impact of your gifts' (Catholic Weekly 6/2/05)
Archbishop Francis Carroll: The time for compassion and generosity will always be now (Catholic Voice February 2005)
Archbishop Phillip Wilson: Perfect Pancakes for Compassion (Archdiocese of Adelaide)
Archbishop Denis Hart: Lent, at a Time of Tsunami

8 Feb 2005