05/27/2017, 10.02
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Caritas India: a network of religious organizations to intervene in disasters

by Santosh Digal

The social arm of the Catholic Church has rescued nearly a million people. It has expertise in reducing disaster risk and connecting rescue and rehabilitation to development. The guiding principle must be "readiness", that is to know how to respond promptly and appropriately.

New Delhi (AsiaNews) - Caritas India wants to engage other religious organizations to give immediate responses in the event of man-made and natural disasters. That is why the social arm of the Catholic Church on 16 May organized a meeting with Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim and Sikh delegates and those of other confessions. At the meeting, the proposal of a network of interreligious bodies was launched, capable of intervening in a concerted manner in the event of an emergency.

Speaking to AsiaNews Amrit Sangma, head of the Caritas Public Relations Office, states: "In all religions there is a lot of good. This effort wants to combine kindness to give compassionate answers to those who may need God's hand, especially in painful situations. In this way Caritas can be the answer to everybody's prayers. "

According to the Catholic, the network of organizations "can also be a way to set aside differences and help people live and realize the common values ​​of love and justice that every religion diffuses. From such a platform, India could benefit a lot, being a country with different religions. "

The Indian subcontinent is particularly vulnerable to natural disasters. This is mainly due to the geographical and climatic conditions, but also to the damaging effects of socio-economic situations, wild urbanization, development in high-risk areas, environmental degradation, climate change, epidemics and pandemics.

Over the years, Caritas India has increased its expertise in reducing disaster risk (DRR) and linking rescue and rehabilitation to development (Lrrd). The humanitarian organization has helped nearly a million people, both at home and abroad, in floods, tsunamis, avalanches, ethnic conflicts and cyclones. More and more experience has emerged showing that people affected by disasters have the right to receive humanitarian assistance from around the world; That this must meet high quality standards; And that all concerned parties must do their utmost to prevent and alleviate human suffering.

Despite the joint efforts of governmental organizations and civil society, the reality of the facts is that disasters continue to be of frightening proportions. Therefore, the guiding principle must be "readiness", that is to know how to respond promptly and appropriately in any situation of need. The purpose, Sangma concludes, is to minimize losses, save lives, reduce the number of dead and injured, protect community livelihoods.

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