Catholic development organization gives $2M in post-tsunami efforts

.- The Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace has made its largest ever one-time contribution to a long-term development project. Nearly one year after a massive tsunami hit Southeast Asia, hundreds of thousands of people are still displaced and trying to rebuild their communities. Development and Peace has responded with a $2-million payment to a multi-country post-tsunami relief effort.

Valued at $25 million, the new project will build 3,000 houses in Aceh, Indonesia, 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 part by a $19-million grant from Misereor, the overseas development agency of the Catholic Church in Germany, and $2 million from Development and Peace, which is the development and emergency relief arm of the Canadian bishops.

Development and Peace is also seeking an additional $4 million in support from the federal government’s Canadian International Development Agency through its tsunami matching-funds program. “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,” said Development and Peace president Margie Noonan.

The first phase of the housing project started in April 2005; it will end in December 2006. It is being conducted under the supervision of Uplink (Urban Poor Linkage Indonesia), one of Development and Peace’s principal partner organizations in Indonesia. Almost 100,000 houses will be built according to government standards.

The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops had launched a nationwide appeal early in January 2005 to help victims of the tsunami and raised $20.7 million in direct contributions. It is also eligible for matching Canadian government funds of $11.7 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.

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