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.
Philippines: Typhoon Haiyan Relief Is Making a Difference
September 8, 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 continue assisting this effort may make a donation to La Salle International Foundation.
On behalf of all those assisted through your relief support, we say a big “THANK YOU!!!”
South Sudan: Moving Forward Amid Crisis
September 8, 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 and ongoing conflict in South Sudan. As a result of the war, many people are in need of humanitarian assistance. (See the numbers below.) South Sudan erupted into violence 15 December 2013 when rebels loyal to the ousted Vice President Riek Machar initiated military action in the country. Since then, militia members loyal to Machar have battled government forces. 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 Summary Update as of 1 September 2014
For a 1 August 2014 IRIN Briefing on the history, major issues and nature of South Sudan’s food crisis, click here. This briefing underscores why Solidarity’s work in teaching agricultural methods in South Sudan is so very important.
About one in seven people in South Sudan have been displaced since December 2013. Close to 1.3 million people were displaced within South Sudan and nearly 450,000 people had crossed into neighbouring Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan and Uganda.
The security situation remained tense in Jonglei, Unity and Upper Nile states. Following last week’s clashes in Bentiu, the town has been largely calm as the frontline moved further west. On 26 August, a UN-contracted helicopter crashed about 10 kilometres south-west of Bentiu. An investigation into the incident was going at the time of reporting, and humanitarian flights to the area temporarily suspended. Clashes were reported in Jonglei’s Ayod County.
Health concerns: An integrated polio, measles, and vitamin A campaign is currently underway in Jonglei, Unity, and Upper Nile States. A seasonal increase of cases of kalaazar, an endemic disease, has been reported, particularly in Lankien, Upper Nile State.
With ongoing rains, humanitarian needs continued to deteriorate. In the Bentiu Protection of Civilians site in Unity State, aid agencies again warned about the critical water and sanitation situation. A second convoy of humanitarian barges is preparing to transport relief supplies from Juba to Malakal, Upper Nile State.
A quick look at the numbers as of this date:
3.8 Million People in need of Humanitarian Assistance
451,000 People sheltering in neighboring countries
2.7 Million People reached with humanitarian assistance
1.3 Million People displaced by violence (internally since 15 December)
[Photo Courtesy of Reuters]