Catholic Relief Services extends support to Venezuela flood victims

CONTACT: Kerry Hodges
(410) 625-2220, ext. 3203
Baltimore, December 21, 1999 - In response to the recent flooding disaster in Venezuela, Catholic Relief Services has committed an initial $100,000 for emergency relief efforts. The agency will join forces with Caritas Venezuela to help provide supplies for victims of the recent flooding and mudslides.

It is estimated that more than 10,000 lives have been lost and 150,000 people left homeless along Venezuela's northern coast where more than 75 percent of the population lives. It is the worst natural disaster to affect the country since an earthquake in 1967 killed 300 people.

"Just as Hurricane Mitch ravaged Central America a little more than a year ago, this crisis has affected some of the poorest people in Venezuela," said Kenneth Hackett, Executive Director of Catholic Relief Services. "We are reaching out in solidarity to our brothers and sisters who have been devastated by this disaster."

Catholic Relief Services has sent one staff person from the Dominican Republic to Venezuela to assist Caritas in implementing the emergency response. The assistance may take the form of food, medicines, temporary shelter, and perhaps housing reconstruction.

Catholic Relief Services is accepting cash contributions to support relief efforts in Venezuela. If you would like to participate in these efforts, you may send donations, marked "Venezuela Floods", to:

Catholic Relief Services
P.O. Box 17090
Baltimore, MD 21203-7090

Catholic Relief Services is the official overseas relief and development agency of the U.S. Catholic community. Founded in 1943, the agency provides assistance to people in more than 80 countries. Catholic Relief Services provides assistance on the basis of need, not race, creed or nationality.

For more information about Catholic Relief Services and our programs around the world, visit our web site at