Caritas commences Dili humanitarian response

Caritas Australia's assessment team has arrived in Dili to commence the Caritas humanitarian response in a country still torn by civil unrest.

"Our joint assessment team is being guided by our local partners, Caritas Dili, to identify the level of assistance required in the various camps, and the short to mid-term requirements for the people," said Caritas Australia's Country Director in East Timor, Jay Maheswaran.

"The Church network who are housing the displaced in Churches and other Catholic institutions are reporting that food, water and sanitation are priorities," he said.

Security is still shaky in Dili, with houses continuing to be torched and gunshots still being fired.

"The fear factor amongst the people is very real," said Dr Maheswaran. "Some of the local staff and their families have not dared to venture out of the camps."

Jack de Groot, Chief Executive Officer of Caritas Australia, says that urgent action is needed as the humanitarian needs of the displaced are increasing.

"Caritas Australia appeals to the Australian public to support the Caritas humanitarian response on the ground in East Timor, and give generously in response to the shortage of basic needs for the displaced people," said Mr de Groot.

Caritas is aiming for a $1 million contribution towards the humanitarian response, Mr de Groot said.

Meanwhile, Caritas says it is also on the ground in Indonesia's Yogyakarta province responding to the needs of the thousands of displaced people following last Saturday's devastating earthquake.

Caritas reports that due to the current wet season in the region, the humanitarian effort has been hampered by weather conditions, with heavy rain making road access to the rural communities difficult.

As the death toll from the quake increases to 6,000, there is still an urgent need for immediate relief of the thousands left homeless, Caritas said.

There is also continued concern as the Mt Merapi volcano, located just 25 km away from Yogyakarta, continues its volcanic activity.

"If the volcano erupts, there will be displaced people from the earthquake and volcano requiring accommodation, food, shelter, water and medical supplies. This will put huge pressure on resources," Mr de Groot said.

Caritas said people wishing to donate money to East Timor or the earthquake relief efforts should call 1800 024 413 or visit www.caritas.org.au.

Caritas Australia commences humanitarian response on the ground in Dili (Caritas Australia 1/6/06)
Caritas Australia responds to urgent needs in Yogyakarta (Caritas Australia 1/6/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Caritas Australia

Dili Salesian tells of anarchy in "city of fear" (CathNews 1/6/06)
Mission head hit by stone-throwing mob (CathNews 31/5/06)
Catholic Mission supporting sanctuary for Dili children (CathNews 30/5/06)
Caritas monitoring Dili crisis (CathNews 29/5/06)
Aid agencies alarmed at growing violence in East Timor (CathNews 26/5/06)
Josephite says unemployment underlies Timor trouble (CathNews 25/5/06)
Priest calls frightened Timorese home (CathNews 22/5/06)
Church joins fray in Timor (CathNews 17/5/06)
Diocese prepares to aid fleeing East Timor refugees (CathNews 11/5/06)
East Timor Catholic leaders appeal for calm after riot (CathNews 5/5/06)
Thousands shelter in Catholic centres after East Timor riots (CathNews 3/5/06)

Caritas accepting donations for Indonesia disaster appeal (CathNews 1/6/06)
Caritas prepares response to Merapi emergency in Yogyakarta (CathNews 31/5/06)
Caritas fears volcano eruption may slow earthquake response (CathNews 30/5/06)
Caritas Australia responds to Indonesia Earthquake (CathNews 29/5/06)

Prayers for Peace and Unity in East Timor (St Ignatius Parish, Richmond 1/6/06)
Classes continue in Dili despite East Timor conflict (ABC Radio AM 1/6/06)
East Timor Catholic Church appeals for violence's end (Union of Catholic Asian News/Catholic Online 1/6/06)
Holy Father Appeals for Peace in East Timor (Zenit 31/5/06)

Aid worker's diary: Java quake (BBC 1/6/06)
Catholic Church distributes aid to quake victims (Union of Catholic Asian News/Catholic Online 1/6/06)
Pryono Marwan SJ: Java Earthquake (Province Express 1/6/06)
Caritas Aiding Quake Victims in Rural Java (Zenit 31/5/06)

2 Jun 2006