“People have died and have been sick because they have no food to eat and no safe, clean water to drink.” Tony Inikre (Caritas Coordinator in northwest PNG).
For the past few years we have been listening to the voices of the peoples of Oceania and each year have produced a report highlighting stories about the serious challenges being faced from a changing environment.
On Tuesday, 4 October (St Francis Day) our annual State of the Environment Report for Oceania will be released.
The report provides assessments for the year of how these challenges are impacting people’s lives. It also provides recommendations to governments, organisations and the general public on how they can help address these issues.
Caritas Director Julianne Hickey recently returned from Kiribati, where she saw firsthand the impacts of climate change and other environmental challenges on communities.
"In one community I saw just the one well that was still working. I saw four wells in the village, but three of them could not be used for drinking water because it was contaminated either by salty water or by other pollutants."
She spoke with Radio New Zealand about what she saw there and about the report to be released next week.
While Caritas continues to respond to the urgent needs of thousands of displaced people inside South Sudan, our Humanitarian Programmes Coordinator, Mark Mitchell, recently spoke at a briefing to parliamentarians on the situation:
"Programmes are underfunded. Although New Zealand has a natural focus in the Pacific, we can and must do more in responding to the needs of countries such as South Sudan where the population is facing ongoing conflict. Chanelling funds through NGOs is a tangible way of doing this."
Caritas is providing food and medicine to those in need in the worst affected areas of the country, but funds are urgently required to continue providing people with essential supplies.
*Select our Africa Aid & Developmentfund to help save lives in South Sudan
Kiribati deep sea mining concerns
Our environmental research and advocacy skills have been called on by Bishop Paul Mea of Kiribati in considering the Catholic Church’s response to Deep Sea Mining policy and legislation currently being considered by the Parliament of Kiribati.
Caritas Director, Julianne Hickey, discussed the proposed legislation with Bishop Paul Mea on her recent visit to Kiribati.
Maree Eugenie (pictured) stands in front of her new house in Anabrou, Port Vila, where we have worked alongside our partners The Butterfly Trust and the Diocese of Port Vila to rebuild and repair houses damaged by Cyclone Pam (March, 2015).
A group of local master builders were trained to rebuild houses to international standards for safe and resilient housing. They then trained local youth, who helped with the rebuilding and acquired useful trade skills in the process.
The master builders also formed their own Anabrou Builders Association, which we are continuing to support.