Catholic Relief expands work to Lebanon recovery effort

September 01, 2006|By Liz F. Kay | Liz F. Kay,Sun reporter

CLARIFICATION

An article on Catholic Relief Services in yesterday's editions gave an incomplete description of money pledged to areas bombed in Lebanon. The Baltimore-based agency pledged $1 million of its own money in July and a total of $10 million from the government and other sources in August.

Baltimore-based Catholic Relief Services has expanded its work in Lebanon to help those who have returned to the bombed southern region with recovery and reconstruction.

The international relief organization had staff working through the conflict with its local partner, Caritas Lebanon. They brought in experts to assist with emergency logistics that Lebanese groups have not had to deal with since the civil war that ended there in 1990.

"We had no choice other than starting to work with them as immediately as possible," said Jack Connolly, Catholic Relief's senior regional representative for Eurasia.

Now the group is concentrating on longer-term assistance that is needed since the cease-fire that ended more than a month of bombing between Israel and the militant group Hezbollah. Catholic Relief Services pledged $1 million to relief efforts.

About 11 employees were brought into Catholic Relief's expanded office this week to work primarily on grant-writing, post-conflict resolution and program development such as psychosocial support for families, Connolly said.

Some homes were "essentially totally leveled," he said. "You can't return if you have nothing to go back to."

Catholic Relief Services has provided tents and has been delivering water to villages, Connolly said. The residents will also need food, seeds and tools because many agricultural areas were heavily bombed, he added.

liz.kay@baltsun.com

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