D. & P. commits $50,000 to help Kenya

  • February 15, 2008

{mosimage}TORONTO - The Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace is kicking in $50,000 to the Caritas Internationalis effort to assist people left homeless by violence in Kenya.

The Canadian contribution will make up part of a $2.7-million appeal from Caritas for help with about 250,000 Kenyans driven from their homes since Kenya’s general elections ended in accusations of fraud and intertribal violence.

An estimated 650 people have been killed in ethnic strife over the last month.

The Caritas effort is targetted at helping 30,000 people in the Rift Valley, Nyanza, western Nairobi and the central and coastal provinces.

Emergency food and water, temporary shelter and basic hygiene supplies will go to people who have been driven from their homes. Caritas is also sponsoring peace-building and reconciliation efforts in divided communities.

The Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace is the Canadian representative of the 162-member Caritas Internationalis.

Pope Benedict XVI appealed during his weekly Angelus address Feb. 3, for prayers for “reconciliation, justice and peace” in Kenya.

He said he hoped talks under way would “be successful and lead — thanks to the good will and co-operation of everyone — to a rapid solution of the conflict that has already caused too many victims.”

Meanwhile, a church aid worker said Catholic aid agencies in Kenya will not evacuate their staff, but he expressed concern over the increasing insecurity across the country.

“We will continue to keep a close eye on security issues and take action accordingly,” said Ken MacLean, Kenya country representative for the U.S. bishops’ Catholic Relief Services.

MacLean told Catholic News Service Jan. 30 that “CRS has staff members monitoring the situation in four of the most affected towns — Kisumu, Nakuru, Eldoret and Kericho.”

Insecurity is at times preventing field visits, he said. But CRS, Caritas Kenya and the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development will not evacuate their workers, he said.

(With CNS files)

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