Urgent Global News
Through programs around the world, La Salle International Foundation helps people lead a better life. Featured here are critical issues deserving our attention.
South Sudan: Moving Forward Amid Crisis
March 7, 2014
To assist in building of South Sudan’s human capacity, La Salle International has been supporting the efforts of Solidarity with South Sudan, which is successfully offering educational, health and pastoral services. Solidarity with South Sudan currently has operational facilities in Juba, Wau, Malakal, Riimenze and Yambio, and satellite offerings in Leer, Nzara, Kosti, Renk and Bentieu. The staff, largely consists of consecrated religious male and females who typically have had previous missionary experience and who are experts in their field. The Solidarity teachers at the Catholic Health Training Institute (CHTI) in Wau are board certified and fully credentialed Medical Doctors (MD) and Registered Nurse (RN) trainers.
The organization’s efforts have been threatened, however, by the recent conflict in South Sudan where a UN-estimated 705,800 people are displaced inside South Sudan. Another 202,500 people have fled to nearby countries. South Sudan erupted into violence 15 December 2013 when rebels loyal to the ousted Vice President Riek Machar tried to stage a coup. Since then, militia members loyal to Machar have battled government forces. The major newly reported concentrations of displaced people are in Central and Eastern Equatoria, Jonglei and Unity States.
Solidarity with South Sudan strives to create self-sustainable teacher training and health-care institutes which eventually will be run by the Sudanese themselves. Solidarity with South Sudan does not discriminate with regards to tribal affiliation, geographic origin, religion, or sexual orientation. All programs operate under a collaborative memorandum of understanding with the appropriate national certifying authorities such as the Government of South Sudan Ministry of Education, Science and Technology and Ministry of Health.
Contributions in support of this challenging and important work can be made through this website (press the “Support our work” button on the top right.)
Situation Update as of 9 March 2014
Clashes continued to be reported in Upper Nile State. Aid agencies prepared to respond to people seeking shelter in Melut in case of – need some form of emergency assistance, such as clean water and sanitation or food.
This includes people internally displaced, other communities affected by violence and lack of basic services, and refugees from neighboring countries. Aid agencies plan to reach 3.2 million of the most vulnerable people by June, and have so far assisted 758,400 people across the country, including people directly affected by the conflict or otherwise in need of life-saving assistance. This includes 234,000 refugees from neighboring countries sheltering in South Sudan.
The UN Crisis Response Plan is currently only 21 per cent funded, which poses challenges for pre-positioning and frontline services to people in need.
[Photo Courtesy of Reuters]
Philippines: Recovering From Super Typhoon Haiyan
March 7, 2014
When super-typhoon Haiyan, known locally as typhoon Yolanda, hit the Philippines on 8 November 2013, more than 14 million people were affected. With a Category 5 ranking, this tropical cyclone was one of the strongest storms in the world’s history, sending meters-high surges from the sea on to the land. More then 6,200 Filipinos died as the storm made landfall in Guiuan, Eastern Samar and then passed west bringing catastrophic devastation to the Visayas, particularly on Samar and Leyte.
While the vast majority of De La Salle operations in the Philippines were not significantly impacted by the storm, De La Salle Philippines and its network of Lasallian schools banded together to immediately respond and actively take part in the relief efforts for communities which were affected. With a common objective and direction, Lasallian schools in the Philippines pooled available resources — both donations in-kind and cash — to respond to the areas hit by the Typhoon, especially those areas which were not much publicized by media.
At the Generalate, the Solidarity network of the De La Salle Brothers was immediately activated according to a pre-existing emergency response plan. Through internet communications, web site announcements, and school notifications, Lasallians around the world were able to contribute to the Typhoon Haiyan Relief Fund through regional offices. Collections were accepted by the Lasallian Foundation (Australia), the La Salle International Foundation (U.S.A. and Canada), Proyde (Spain), EDDE (France), SECOLI and the De La Salle Solidarietà-ONLUS (Italy) as well as through local Lasallian networks in the Philippines. The cumulative amount raised by these groups is likely to exceed a quarter of a million dollars.
The strategic location of University of St. La Salle (USLS) Bacolod – Visayas allowed the Lasallian network to aid in relief operations offering a quick response to the nearby islands of the Negros province. De La Salle University (DLSU) Manila – Luzon served as the main packing center for in-kind donations and the creation of 5-day relief packs for distribution. De La Salle Zobel (DLSZ) – Luzon spearheaded dispatches of relief goods to Guiuan, Eastern Samar, the area where typhoon Haiyan made its first land fall.
While some of the donations made were used for immediate expenses during the relief operations, a substantial amount was also set aside for rebuilding programs in partnership with our La Salle supervised schools and with the Department of Education of the Philippines. Making use of the strengths and competencies of the Lasallian network in the Philippines, this rebuilding and rehabilitation program is envisioned to provide assistance for two or three typhoon-affected communities. The program will be comprehensive, sensitive to local needs, open to partnerships with other organizations and institutions and sustainable for at least three years. Intervention will include such actions as the rebuilding of classrooms, provision of other classroom materials (chairs, blackboards, chalk), school supplies for students, books and the restocking of damaged library collections.
Individuals and groups who wish to financially assist our schools and communities restore their operations can make a donation to La Salle International Foundation. One hundred percent of the funds collected will go towards educational, health and humanitarian relief for the Philippines.