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Caritas plea to support world's most vulnerable during pandemic

National

As Australia intensifies its response to meet the unprecedented challenges of COVID-19, Caritas Australia is urging thousands of school children, teachers, churches and community leaders across Australia to get involved in Project Compassion and act in solidarity with those most marginalised globally.

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Caritas Australia’s CEO Kirsty Robertson said for the communities across the 23 countries served by the Catholic Church’s international aid and development agency, the spread of the coronavirus represents a growing risk. She said this was particularly so due to growing water and sanitation challenges, during food distributions and the delivery of medical and emergency supplies.

“We understand that the challenge and impacts of COVID-19 in Australia are great, and we urge everyone to do whatever we can to look after each other and stay strong,” said Ms Robertson. “But we also know that Australians are willing during such crises, to act in solidarity and compassion with those who are even more vulnerable.”

“Imagine facing all of this in a country or marginalised community that is already experiencing poverty, with an insecure food supply, no fresh drinking water, and fewer hospital beds? Now more than ever we must act in solidarity with the world’s poorest and most marginalised communities.”

Caritas Australia through its international network has already been supporting marginalised communities via existing humanitarian and long-term development programs, in disaster preparedness and promoting awareness of health and sanitation in this crisis.

Ms Robertson warned that if the virus hits places like the Rohingya refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh, or conflict-torn communities in the Middle East, the impact will be catastrophic.

“Communities like these have lacked sufficient access to proper sanitary living conditions and medical support, even before the spread of COVID-19,” Ms Robertson said.

“The situation for people in these communities is already highly precarious.

“The need for support and donations during Caritas Australia’s Project Compassion which takes place over Lent is more urgent than ever. If you are in a position to donate to Caritas Australia, your donation will truly save lives.“

She added there were some great ways to fundraise online for families, schools and communities while at home.

Ms Robertson has made a special video for supporters, discussing how Caritas Australia is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. It can be viewed at https://bit.ly/Kirsty-Robertson

To donate to Project Compassion visit Caritas Australia’s website, lent.caritas.org.au or call 1800 024 413.

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