Caritas' Tsunami Aid Fund Nears $320 Million

U.S. Member-Agency Increases Long-Term Targets

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ROME, FEB. 6, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Caritas Internationalis, the federation of Catholic humanitarian agencies, has reported that it has raised close to $320 million to help communities affected by the Asian tsunami.



U.S.-based member Catholic Relief Services plans to raise its aid to Asia's tsunami survivors to $80 million from $25 million over a five- to seven-year period.

The tidal wave that may have left more than 300,000 people dead has devastated coastal populations and destroyed the livelihood of many fishing communities.

"Enough time has passed to allow us to see more clearly the expanse of work that will be necessary to help people get back on their feet," said Ken Hackett, president of Catholic Relief Services.

"While we continue to provide emergency aid to those in need, we are already moving into a longer-term recovery phase that will require millions more than originally estimated," he explained.

The $80 million will support a variety of multifaceted programs to re-establish livelihoods, rebuild roads, bridges, public facilities, schools and homes as well as counseling programs to help the survivors cope with the effects of the tragedy.

Catholic Relief Services has already raised more than $69.5 million from the U.S. Catholic community and other supporters.

Hackett added: "We are mindful of our responsibility to ensure funds are used for the purpose they were given -- to help survivors recover and regain their way of life."