Bolivia + 3 more

Development and Peace steps in with emergency aid to help flood stricken regions across Africa, Asia and Latin America

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Montreal, May 7, 2007 - In addition to supporting important relief efforts in conflict zones on a year-round basis, the past few months have also seen DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE responding to requests for aid after disastrous flooding affected significant areas in Bolivia, Burundi, Indonesia and Mozambique. The Emergency Aid programme of DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE continues to monitor the situation and so far has already approved help to partners totalling some $406,400.

In Burundi, especially, the year-end flooding has only made an already precarious food security situation much worse. January estimates placed 1 million people in danger from famine by Spring if immediate food aid and farming assistance (tools and seeds) were not provided. Working with our sister agency Caritas Burundi, DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE has contributed $80,000 to an emergency food and agricultural aid and rehabilitation project. This project is currently assisting 36,500 families whose land and crops were destroyed by the floods, and who were at great risk of not being able to plant next season.

In Bolivia, El Nino and La Nina have contributed to some of the worst flooding the country has seen in 40 years. Eight out of nine regions in the country were flooded, and more than 70,000 families have been severely affected by deaths and disappearances, as well as by considerable agricultural losses. For Bolivia - one of South America's most vulnerable countries in terms of ecological disasters such as drought, freezing, flooding, earthquakes, and forest fires - the social and economic impact of each new crisis is extremely onerous. DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE is supporting three emergency aid projects, two together with its regular programme partners (CIDDENBENI and ALAS) and one with our sister agency, Caritas Boliviana, in order to meet the different needs of an entire population displaced by floods, and to help restart local economic and social planning efforts. In total, the help being provided to Bolivia has reached $196,400.

In Mozambique, with moderate seasonal rainfall in January, the Zambezi river valley was then inundated with rain during the month of February, changing to a torrential downpour in mid-month, especially in the upper reaches of the river. On February 22nd, 139,000 people were forced from their homes due to extreme flooding. The hardest hit areas were the four dioceses of Quelimane, Tete, Beira and Chimoio. This grave situation was exacerbated by Cyclone Favio packing winds of up to 240 km/hr, which destroyed the homes of 162, 760 persons, also forcing them to seek temporary shelter.

To date a total of 285,000 people in the central provinces of Mozambique have been adversely affected by these natural disasters since the start of 2007. Government aid has been insufficient and/or non-existent in many outlying areas. DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE sister agency, Caritas Mozambique, has given emergency help, particularly in terms of drinking water, food and cooking utensils, although temporary shelter still remains a high priority for many families. Further aid is centred on plans to provide additional help to 17,200 persons (3,316 families) in the four central dioceses, now living in emergency shelters, and who require ongoing assistance in terms of food and agricultural aid, in addition to help to return to their land when the flood waters recede. The project is expected to last four months with a contribution from DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE in the amount of $80,000.

As regards Indonesia, DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE partners mobilized quickly to come to the aid of victims of the recent floodings, which hit Jakarta at the beginning of February. Storm waters forced almost 350,000 out of their homes. Partner UPLINK (Urban Poor Linkage) was able to respond quickly and made emergency aid available to those most in need by setting up temporary shelters and distributing basic necessities, such as medication, food, blankets and clothing. Support to this project has totalled $50,000.

The Emergency Aid programme of DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE relies mainly on public donations, a portion of which comes from the annual Share Lent campaign. 10% of the amounts collected during each campaign every year are used for emergency aid situations across the Global South. Support from the Canadian public has helped DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE ensure the needs of the most vulnerable are not overlooked even in some of the less visible emergency situations around the world.

DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE is the official international development organization of the Catholic Church in Canada and the Canadian member of Caritas Internationalis, a Catholic network of 162 autonomous, emergency relief, development and social service organizations working in 200 countries and territories. For 40 years, DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE has worked directly with organizations made up of or representing the poor and marginalized in the Global South, and provided $500 million to 15,000 projects in Africa, Asia and Latin America. We are presently active with 200 partners in 28 countries in Africa, Asia, and in Latin America. In Canada, we are a democratic movement for international solidarity - educating the public about the root causes of poverty and mobilizing social action for change - with 15,000 members from coast to coast.

For Information Contact:

English Media Contact:

Wanda Potrykus
514-257-8710, ext. 365
wanda.potrykus@devp.org

French Media Contact:

Philippe Doucet
514 257-8710, ext. 400
philippe.doucet@devp.org