CARE

Our mission is to serve individuals and families in the poorest communities in the world. Drawing strength from our global diversity, resources and experience, we promote innovative solutions and are advocates for global responsibility. We facilitate lasting change by: Strengthening capacity for self-help Providing economic opportunity Delivering relief in emergencies Influencing policy decisions at all levels Addressing discrimination in all its forms Guided by the aspirations of local communities, we pursue our mission with both excellence and compassion because the people whom we serve deserve nothing less.
Nov 8, 2010

The Emotional Toll in Pakistan

Nabila
Nabila

The floods in Pakistan have not only had a huge physical impact on millions, but also inflicted significant emotional trauma on the population.

Syed Naveed Shah, 16, was alone in the house when his parents left to save his uncle, who was trapped in the floods. Naveed’s father told him to take care of his four siblings, three sisters and a brother.  “I was worried about my uncle and was waiting for my parents to come back soon," said Naveed. That evening, three feet of water entered the house in minutes. Naveed and his siblings ran towards the nearby hills to save their lives. “We remained on the hills all night. My siblings were so scared and my youngest sister was crying the whole time."

Naveed was scared as well, but remained calm as he was the acting head of his family. They stayed until morning on the hills. And they returned to nothing. "It was a plain ground with no sign of any of our belongings, not even one brick," said Naveed. “I was stunned and wasn’t sure if it was a nightmare or really happening. I never thought something can wash away the house like this."

The family waited for their father to return that evening. Alam Shah, Naveed’s father, came with worse news: He'd been unable to save his younger brother from the floods. “I went to the rooftop and held my brother’s hand. The boundary wall fell and water level increased. My brother was screaming loud to let go of his hand as the roof could fall anytime."

Alam's 25-year-old brother told him not to waste time helping him, as Alam's children needed him more. The moment Alam let go of his brother's hand, flood water took his brother. He was later found dead at the river bank nearby. Says Alam: “He wanted to take me to the parents of his beloved to ask for her hand on Eid, I promised to go with him and saved some money for his marriage as well."

Today, Naveed is scared and Alam is depressed, suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. “It would have been better if I had died instead of bearing this guilt of letting go of him."

Alam is now living in a rental room with his family. He’s struggling to move on. He can’t send all his children to school due to financial constraints, but insists Naveed - in 10th grade - get an education. “It will help him overcome the horror he’s been through. I want him to become a big man."

Both Naveed and Alam are benefiting from CARE’s psychosocial support. Our clinical psychologist sees them individually for counseling. So far, they have attended three sessions each and say they are feeling better. Psychosocial support is a part of CARE’s activities in the region which is continued since the conflict in Swat. Over 8,000 community members and students will benefit from this support.

Generally, CARE is working in 5 Union Councils in Swat and has started following activities: 

  • Mother and Child Health at Rural Health Centers. Targeting over 12,000 individuals.
  • Continuation of primary healthcare through three basic health units. Benefits at least 35,000 people.
  • Seed and fertilizer for 600 acre agricultural land (1 acre per family).
  • Cash for work for 5000 labor days. To clear debris, rebuild the houses (labor and construction material provided by CARE). Wage rate for one laborer is 350 PKR per day.
  • Winterized packages (five blankets in each) for 4,000 families.
  • Transitional shelter to 100 most vulnerable families.
  • Rehabilitation/restoration of 35 water supply schemes. Benefits 12000 individuals.
  • Rehabilitation of 20 Sanitation schemes for at least 7,000 people.
  • Psychosocial support to 8,000 community members and students
Jan 19, 2010

Update: CARE’s Emergency Response in Haiti

Background The January 12th earthquake that devastated Haiti is one of the largest humanitarian disasters in recent years, both in terms of numbers of people affected and the magnitude of damage. Current estimates are that one in three Haitians are affected (approximately 3 million people living in and around the capital city of Port-au-Prince). Some 80,000 people are confirmed dead, and this number is expected to increase significantly in the days and weeks to come.

CARE, which has worked in Haiti since 1954, launched an immediate response to help earthquake survivors. Thankfully, all of CARE’s 133 staff members are safe and accounted for, although many lost relatives, including children, as well as their homes. CARE’s staff in Haiti includes emergency personnel who were part of the response to the devastating Hurricane Hanna in 2008. In addition to our staff already in Haiti, we have deployed an experienced emergency team that has allowed us to start providing emergency assistance while planning for longer-term recovery.

The purpose of this update is to provide more details on CARE’s efforts to date.

Update from Haiti General Emergency Response · The scale of devastation caused by Tuesday’s earthquake in Haiti is horrifying. Aid workers on the ground say the extent of the damage to homes and infrastructure is reminiscent of the damage caused by the 2004 tsunami in South Asia.

· The situation poses a huge logistical challenge. Getting in enough aid supplies, equipment and staff is difficult, as the airport and port have been severely damaged. Electricity and water have been cut off, fuel supplies are low, and roads are impassable.

· Despite these challenges, aid is getting through, and more emergency workers and aid shipments are arriving. The port is expected to be operational in two days and the government plans to open 40 banks today. Western Union is waiving charges for remittances to Haiti, and T-Mobile is providing free text messaging between Haiti and the US through January.

· CARE has distributed clean water, water purification packets, emergency food rations, and basic hygiene kits, as described below. Soon we will begin distributing tents, mattresses and other relief items.

CARE’s Response · CARE has given clean water and water purification packets to 25,000 people.

· We have started distributing: – 10-tons of high-protein biscuits, enough for 60,000 emergency meals to people in need; – 1,500 collapsible water containers; and – 1,200 hygiene kits, with a special focus on the needs of women.

· We also have procured 5,000 mattresses, which will soon be distributed.

· There are 37,000 pregnant women in the disaster zone who are in urgent need of food, safe water and access to health care. CARE is working hard to support their needs.

· We are in the process of acquiring and bringing in more supplies, such as jerry cans, tents, temporary warehouse structures, generators and high-protein biscuits from places like Dubai, Karachi and Nairobi.

· The CARE Haiti team has begun planning for the longer-term response; in the near term, this could include activities such as rebuilding homes and implementing a cash-for-work program for people to help clear debris.

Gender Focus · To help meet the specific needs of pregnant women, new mothers and children, CARE is focusing on the following as part of our immediate emergency response: – distribution of water purification tablets to provide clean water, particularly for pregnant women and children who are particularly susceptible to water-borne illness such as diarrhea; – distribution of emergency food rations; – distribution of infant kits for mothers with newborns and young babies; and – distribution of hygiene kits that include soap and toothpaste, sanitary napkins and undergarments for women.

· We know that in emergencies like this, women and girls are at increased risk of sexual violence, exploitation and abuse when seeking food and other services. CARE is deploying a gender-based violence specialist to enhance our ability to address these issues.

· After disasters, CARE normally provides delivery kits for women and health centers to facilitate safer, cleaner deliveries. We are working with partners to determine how to procure these items and distribute them as quickly as possible.

Health Focus · Port-au-Prince lacks sewer infrastructure and the massive quake ruptured water lines. This creates a perfect formula for the spread of water-borne disease, particularly as those left homeless are forced into close quarters with limited options for sanitation.

· CARE is working quickly to distribute water purification packets along with basic hygiene kits to help prevent a secondary crisis: the outbreak of disease.

· Safe water is crucial for every survivor of last Tuesday’s quake – but especially for pregnant women, new mothers and small children. We are concerned that women may stop breastfeeding because they do not have enough food or water themselves, posing a huge risk to newborns.

· Mounting garbage adds to the risk of disease. Throughout Haiti, garbage trucks stand idle and the gutters are clogged with plastic bags, bottles and trash of all kinds. People tie handkerchiefs over their faces, desperately trying to stem the overwhelming stench. We urgently need to address the waste disposal issue. If garbage keeps accumulating, it will certainly spread disease.

Jan 19, 2010

Haiti Update: Jan. 18th

All four of CARE's missing staff have been located!

In Haiti, the government has encouraged migration from Port-au-Prince to reduce stress and tension in the capital, where even today, people are being rescued alive from under the rubble. The government has issued radio announcements that free bus transportation is available to people leaving Port-au-Prince. On Sunday alone, approximately 1,500 people arrived in Jeremie from Port-au-Prince. Many of them are wounded and in need of assistance by the local hospital.

Just outside of our Port-au-Prince office, hundreds – perhaps even thousands – of newly homeless people are camped out in the main square. At night, groups of people can be heard clapping and chanting. Some have hung banners, painted on bed sheets, with messages like "We need help!" in English and Creole. Many tie handkerchiefs over their faces, desperately trying to block the overwhelming stench of waste. We have arranged for a tanker truck to bring water to the square, along with a huge rubber "bladder" to store it.

Access to clean water and waste disposal remain critical issues. Mounting waste in the streets, overflowing idle garbage trucks and clogged gutters will soon lead to extensive disease. We are rapidly responding and working to resolve logistical challenges. In order to reach the largest number of people quickly, CARE in Haiti's health program coordinator, Dr. Franck Geneus, and his staff are training local volunteers in water purification through a simple method: small packets of powder are mixed with water. Each packet can purify 10 liters of water. The trained volunteers will teach others and will distribute the packets according to a careful inventory of families at sites, ensuring that we reach those most in need. We also have partnered with other organizations to meet the immediate needs of the more than 37,000 pregnant and lactating women in the disaster zone who are in desperate need of food, clean drinking water and access to health care.

The Haitian minister of the Interior estimates 250,000 people are in urgent need of assistance. In addition to the water purification packets, we will soon distribute food rations, tents, mattresses and basic hygiene kits. We are working to procure and distribute additional emergency aid, including ready-to-eat meals, tarps and plastic sheeting, blankets, mosquito nets, sleeping mats, jerry cans and kitchen kits, as quickly as possible.

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