Canberra, Australia, Feb 1, 2020 / 14:12 pm
Catholic leaders in Australia have announced the creation of a new disaster response initiative to aid those affected by devastating bushfires in the country, as well as future natural disasters.
"Our response to the bushfires, and the drought that has exacerbated the fires, has demonstrated once again the collective power of the Catholic Church to respond to disasters in all sorts of ways," said Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane, president of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, in a Jan. 28 statement.
The Catholic Bishops' Conference, along with Catholic Religious Australia, Catholic Social Services Australia and the National Catholic Education Commission, unveiled a new national initiative called CERA - Catholic Emergency Relief Australia – to coordinate Catholic organizations' relief efforts following natural disasters.
The initiative comes from nationwide efforts to support those affected by the more than 80 bushfires that continue to burn in Australia, in the worst wildfire season in the country's recorded history. Hot, windy conditions have thwarted firefighters' efforts to extinguish the blazes. More than 33 people have been killed and more than 24 million acres destroyed in the fires since September, according to the BBC.