Catholic Church steps up to help

More than 40 families affected by measles in Upolu will receive assistance of food supplies and clothing donated through the Catholic parishes around Samoa.

This was confirmed by the Programme Coordinator of Caritas Samoa, Karen Anaya, in an interview with Samoa Observer. 

“Organising the assistance for these vulnerable families started Monday this week, we had 40 Catholic parishes from Upolu and Savaii donate whatever they can so we can make some family packages,” she said.

“We also received assistance from those who just walk in our offices that donated vegetables, taro, and bananas. 

“We work together with the National Emergency Operation Center (N.E.O.C.) as protocol calls for it; they came and assessed the supplies and we had to allocate what was needed for the hospitals and suitable for families outside the clinics. 

“They granted us permission to reach the communities independently but everything that goes through the hospital and volunteers must go through them.”

Ms. Anaya added the assistance will focus on villages within the Vaimauga West and Faleata West constituencies, with the list of families who will receive the support, to come through the Catholic Church's priests or catechists who will identify families affected by the measles epidemic.

“This initiative all started when we realized that so many people were not vaccinated and how fast the measles virus spreads; we realized the urgency to do something," she said. 

“But we are very grateful that there are so many kind hearts in Samoa who have donated money, food supplies, toilet papers, soaps, clothes. We will do our best to get this relief to where it is most needed.

“This morning (yesterday) we delivered food supplies to the Motootua hospital which was donated via Caritas Samoa by farmers across the country to provide some relief in this crisis. The fruits and vegetables were inspected by officials from N.E.O.C. and representatives of the Ministry of Health. They will be used to prepare meals for patients and workers at the hospitals."

She also added that they had also delivered bed sheets and pillowcases to Motootua hospital for patients.

Caritas Samoa was founded in February 2008 and became a full-fledged member of Caritas Internationalis in 2011. The collection of Pacific islands which form Samoa has a population under 200,000.

Caritas Samoa works in close partnership with Caritas agencies, international relief organisations, as well as the Samoan government’s National Disaster Management Office to provide assistance and training where needed.

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