Appeal for Generosity "Fund for International Solidarity"
In order to respond to the many requests the CIAD (Commission for International Aid and Development) receives, Renato Lima de Oliveira - General President and Bertrand Ousset - President of the CIAD, appeal in a letter to the generosity of the vincentians all over the world to feed the Fund for the International Solidarity (FIS).
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Our planet is suffering more and more frequently from climate upheavals and increasing levels of regional conflicts; the consequent humanitarian disasters are manifold, with some making headlines in the media, while many others unfold, forgotten and unknown to the general public around the world.
Up to now, the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul has launched appeals on an ad hoc basis for donations to relieve suffering, to rebuild and restart sustainable development in the countries and regions affected, and it will continue to do so for disasters that affect whole nations.
But the Society is asked to deal with many regional, sometimes endemic, humanitarian crises, most often ignored by the media, which leave scores or even hundreds of people in situations of long-term distress; here are some examples among the many for which no specific appeal for donations has been initiated by the CGI.
In March 2017, Madagascar was struck by Cyclone Enawo, which killed at least 78 people, with 300,000 affected and around 30% of crops destroyed. This followed the drought which at the end of 2016 left 850,000 people in a position of serious food insecurity, then a flood struck the island at Tulear, in which 1200 people were drowned on 18 January 2017.
In Peru, the torrential El Niño rains caused flooding, avalanches and mudslides, leading to 75 deaths and over 625,000 people affected, of whom 70,000 lost their homes. The SSVP children’s home, Villa Infantil Federico Ozanam, was flooded and had to be evacuated.
An earthquake with a magnitude of 6.4 hit the north of the island of Sumatra in Indonesia, on 7 December 2016. 97 people perished in the disaster, which destroyed dozens of homes. Another earthquake had hit the island previously in June 2016.
In the Democratic Republic of Congo, a country hit hard by an unprecedented humanitarian disaster, torrential rains caused the River Calamu to break its banks in December at Boma: at least 50 people died, with 13 missing, 24,260 people affected, including 4077 men, 4275 women and 15,808 children, and much of the local infrastructure damaged. Further rainstorms led to floods in Kinshasa in February.
An earthquake was reported in Ecuador in April 2016: it affected the coastal region, causing destruction as far as the country’s economic capital of Guayaquil. There were numerous victims: 668 dead, 8 missing, 6274 injured and over 29,067 homeless.
Also in April 2016, the north and centre of Malawi experienced flooding caused by torrential rains, forcing the President to declare a state of emergency.
The consequences of these rains were severe. They cost the lives of at least a dozen people and displaced hundreds of others. Houses collapsed and latrines were carried away leading to health concerns.
Under the heading of humanitarian disasters, it goes without saying that the situation in the Middle East is included, with tens of thousands of people threatened, persecuted, hunted from their homes into Iraq or Syria, displaced within their own country or fleeing from it, especially into Lebanon, or trying to stay on with the support of the local SSVP.
The Central African Republic is put to fire and the sword. The country is plunged into internal conflict which is driving it to the brink. It has succumbed to violence and insecurity: assassinations, torture, rape, lynching, forced displacement, looting, fire and destruction of Christian villages. The militia have already killed thousands of Christian civilians, pillaged and torched thousands of houses, and started a cycle of violence still going on throughout the country. Within this chaos, the civilian population is in the front line: 2.2 million people need immediate humanitarian assistance, 1.4 million people have been displaced since 2013, 2 million are short of food.
Six years after independence, South Sudan is on the edge of the most severe humanitarian crisis in Africa because of the civil war which has been raging since 2013 with the most extreme violence: massacres, rapes, enrolment of children as soliders have led to the displacement of 2.3 million people within the country and the flight of 500,000 to neighbouring countries. In January, a fire broke out in one of the many camps where the SSVP is working. On 20 February 2017, the government of South Sudan declared a state of famine in several areas of the country.
Since the 1950s, Uganda has welcomed refugees fleeing from neighbouring conflicts. Rwandans, Somalians, Burundians, Congolese or South-Sudanese, there are some 540,000 living in the cities or in rural areas, and the influx continues. SSVP Uganda serves the refugees in many camps, and also has to deal with frequent natural disasters.
Venezuela has been plunged into a serious economic crisis, with shortages of 68% of basic products, and uncontrollable inflation. Almost a third of Venezuelans, 9.6 million people, eat only one or at the most two meals a day. Poverty affected 81.8% of homes in 2016, some 9 points higher than in 2015, according to a survey of living conditions carried out by a group of universities.
This long list is unfortunately not complete today, and the rollcall of disasters can only get longer over time.
So on behalf of these unknown missions, forgotten or even hidden, which do not mobilise donors, even though they affect millions of people, we are proposing to organise an appeal for donations to a Fund for International Solidarity (FIS), which will allow CIAD, the Commission for International Aid and Development of the SSVP-CGI, to respond to the many requests it receives. The FIS was created by CGI precisely to receive donations along the year without a specific purpose to allow CIAD attend any request it receives. This collection may be repeated every year.
Attached you will find an explanatory leaflet with the report on the actions and projects funded by the Commission in 2016.
This campaign for donations could be called....
OPERATION ‘FORGOTTEN DISASTERS’
Serving in hope
Renato LIMA DE OLIVEIRA
16th President General