This update provides the latest reports from Catholic Relief Services teams and partners carrying out vital emergency relief and recovery efforts around the world. Our work is possible thanks to the generous support of private and public donors, the dedication of local partners, and the unwavering presence of Caritas and the local Catholic Church.
Europe + the Middle East
The Europe refugee and migrant crisis continues to grow, with increasing numbers fleeing their countries— primarily Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq. CRS is providing comprehensive emergency relief to hundreds of thousands of uprooted people. We are helping partners in countries struggling to respond and have supported 235,000 people in Greece, Macedonia, Croatia and Serbia.
In the Middle East, ongoing conflicts in Syria and Iraq have forced millions from their homes and even countries. On February 11, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart agreed to deliver vital humanitarian assistance to devastated Syrian cities.
CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
A second round of presidential elections will take place in late February. It is hoped that they will be peaceful and bring about long-needed stability. CRS teams and partners continue to provide relief to thousands of people enduring one of the world’s most deadly conflicts, which has devastated the country and claimed more than 5,000 lives.
The fear of a severe food crisis looms in Ethiopia after two failed rainy seasons have decimated harvests, leading to food shortages and to weakening or dying livestock. CRS is providing critical seeds for the current planting season, cashfor-work opportunities, and feed and vaccinations for livestock. In coordination with the government, CRS has also increased assistance, and will be supporting 2.2 million people.
Just 24 hours after the World Health Organization declared in January that the Ebola outbreak was over, new cases were confirmed in Sierra Leone. CRS continues to build on our work, which improved health systems in the most-afected countries, and to support community recovery.
At least 2.1 million people have fled their homes in fear of the militant group Boko Haram, which has carried out attacks in the northeast, killing more than 13,000 people. CRS is providing food, health care, nutrition, hygiene supplies and other support to uprooted and vulnerable families and communities.
People are struggling to recover from internal conflict and drought that have depleted the country’s scarce resources. CRS is responding with crop and livestock support, forming savings groups and providing living supplies.
The El Niño cycle has affected weather patterns across Southern Africa, leading to drought-like conditions and food shortages in Angola, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe. CRS is preparing agricultural activities, disaster risk reduction eforts, and integrated watershed and natural resource management to boost resilience.
Latin America + the Caribbean
The Costa Rican government is struggling to support 7,000 Cubans living in shelters who need food and living supplies. An estimated 40,000 Cubans have migrated to Costa Rica over a period of years, mainly via Ecuador, in an efort to reach the United States. Following President Obama’s declaration that, under the Cuban Adjustment Act, Cubans may enter the United States—and receive migrant benefits—this migration has accelerated.