McCarrick Returns From Survey Of Catholic Aid In Lebanon
Sept 11, 2006
Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, former Archbishop of Washington, D.C., returned Sunday afternoon from Lebanon, where he had conducted a weeklong survey of relief efforts there by Catholic Relief Services (CRS).
(nbc4.com, August 13, 2006) WASHINGTON -- He is a member of the group’s board.
McCarrick called Friday for an immediate cease-fire and the opening of a safe corridor to bring humanitarian aid to those who have been displaced due to the crisis in Lebanon, a spokesman said.
CRS, in partnership with Caritas Lebanon, is providing emergency assistance to more than 85,000 people. CRS plans an emergency response and rehabilitation program of at least $10 million for areas affected by the current Middle East crisis, including impacted areas in Gaza, northern Israel and Lebanon, according to a spokesman.
The Cardinal met with government and religious leaders as well as displaced families during his trip.
"I came to Lebanon in solidarity with the innocent people, as I have visited the Holy Land in the past. I echo the calls of our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, for an immediate cease-fire. Violence begets violence, and war is not the answer to the problems of this region," McCarrick said.
More than 900,000 Lebanese have been displaced by the conflict with Israel. Hundreds of thousands are living in public buildings in Beirut and other cities, or in the homes of strangers. Thousands of migrant workers have also been trapped by the fighting, a spokesman for the Washington Archdiocese said.
CRS and Caritas Lebanon are providing temporary housing, assisting migrant workers with emergency assistance and repatriation, and supplying medical care, food and other emergency relief supplies to displaced populations, officials said.
A major challenge, said a spokesman, has been getting aid to “those most in need.” Continued violence in southern Lebanon has prevented supplies from reaching an estimated 50,000 people, the spokesman said.
Fuel is in short supply in many parts of the country. This, combined with the destruction of roads and bridges, and the lack of guaranteed safe passage for humanitarian relief have resulted in “continued suffering,” according to officials.
“I call also for all combatants to open corridors of safety so humanitarian help can reach the people now living in desperate need. In too many cases, even initial aid already in Lebanon cannot reach the people. That must change immediately to prevent the loss of even more lives," the Cardinal said, after meeting with aid workers.