Helping Victims of the Southeast Asia Tsunami: Development and Peace Sends Largest Ever, One-Time Payment

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(CCCB-Ottawa) … The Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace has joined a multi-country post-tsunami relief effort to rebuild communities for the people of Aceh, Indonesia, still displaced from last December’s disaster.

Valued at $25 million, the new project will build 3,000 houses, restore damaged or destroyed village infrastructures, and assist the economic and cultural recovery of the region’s tidal wave survivors.

The project is being funded in large measure by a $19-million grant from Misereor, the overseas development agency of the Catholic Church in Germany, and $2 million from Development and Peace, the international solidarity organization created by Canada’s Bishops in 1967. Development and Peace is seeking an additional $4 million in support from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) through its tsunami matching funds program.

Misereor is Development and Peace’s German counterpart. Both are members of CIDSE (International Cooperation for Development and Solidarity), a Catholic network of development and aid organizations.

Development and Peace President Margie Noonan said the latest $2 million in aid is the largest one-time payment Development and Peace has ever sent a partner.

“By working collaboratively with Misereor, our sister agency in Germany, this project shows what can be accomplished when Catholic development organizations link their resources to benefit those in need in countries across the globe,” she said.

The house building project in Aceh is being conducted under the supervision of Uplink (Urban Poor Linkage Indonesia), one of Development and Peace’s principal partner organizations in Indonesia. Uplink is a coalition of community-based organizations that has been providing basic assistance and short-term relief to tsunami victims since day two of the disaster. Development and Peace has been associated with Uplink since its creation in 2002.

The first phase of the housing project started in April 2005; it will end in December 2006. All new construction in the region will meet Indonesian government standards for earthquake and tsunami preparedness. Uplink is receiving technical assistance from other community organizations in Asia that have expertise in building earthquake resistant housing.

Half a million people are still homeless in Indonesia. Almost 100,000 houses will have to be built to accommodate them.

Canadians responded to the call

The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) launched a nationwide appeal early in January 2005 to help victims of the Asian tsunami.

Largely because of that appeal, Development and Peace raised $20.7 million in direct contributions. It is also eligible for matching Canadian government funds of $11.7 million, bringing the total Development and Peace / CIDA tsunami reconstruction budget to $32.4 million.

Joint projects involving Development and Peace and CIDA have already provided $3.7 million for tsunami reconstruction in Asia. In addition to the Aceh housing project, Development and Peace is developing large number of multi-year projects for the period 2005 to 2010.

Archbishop André Gaumond, President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), is delighted with these efforts by Development and Peace and its partners.  “It is possible to change the face of the earth,” he said.  “Even thousands of kilometers away, people confronted with disasters such as this know they are not alone. Despite the devastation, there is still this small glimmer of hope that makes it possible to believe in tomorrow, in life and in the goodness in the world.”

For More Information Contact:
Sylvain Salvas
Director, Communications Service
Tel: (613) 241-9461
Fax: (613) 241-9048
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Last Updated on Thursday, October 05 2006  
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Canada’s oldest diocese, the Archdiocese of Quebec, was established in 1674. Most Reverend François de Laval was its first Bishop.