Caritas Venezuela made an appeal for $500,000 (US) for emergency relief on Monday, December 20. CAFOD's $25,000 will go with pledges from other countries towards medical supplies, food and emergency shelter.
CAFOD Deputy Director Pat Jones said: "It's a terrible tragedy, and our hearts go out to the thousands of people who have lost friends, family, their homes and their livelihoods.
"We are lucky that we can count on our sister agencies in the Caritas network, and we will do all we can to give them the help they need."
Caritas" the international Catholic aid network of which CAFOD is part" is co-ordinating relief work through its member organisations. Caritas Venezuela has 34 diocesan representatives and operates in 1,200 parishes throughout the country. It is working with Caritas Argentina, Peru and Panama in the first few days after the disaster, and Caritas Spain is to send a technical team to Venezuela early next week.
Janeth Márquez, Director of Caritas Venezuela, described the situation. She said: "Even on the first day, more than 100 volunteers - most of them young Catholics - came to our office in Caracas to offer to lend a hand.
"We think some of the people lodged in our emergency shelters will be able to return home within the week, but we think we'll have to be responsible for thousands more - the poorest and those with nowhere to go - for a longer, indeterminate length of time."
Anyone who wishes to make donations can do so via the CAFOD website www.cafod.org.uk or by post to CAFOD, Romero Close, Stockwell Road, London, SW9 9TY.
For more information contact Ged Naughton on (0171) 733 7900 or (0860) 28 42 48.
CAFOD home page
CAFOD, Romero Close, Stockwell Road, London, SW9 9TY
Tel: 0171 733 7900 Fax: 0171 274 9630 E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org