Caritas Polska has Helped Disaster Victims in Several Nations
Including Belgium, Croatia, Germany, and the Netherlands
Cartas Polska / Facebook)
Caritas Polska has helped disaster victims in several nations, including Belgium, Croatia, Germany, and the Netherlands.
Caritas Polska collected 5 million PLN to help the victims of the earthquake in Croatia. For those injured as a result of storms in Germany, 500,000 EUR was collected. A further 100,000 EUR was also collected to help victims of the summer disasters in Belgium and the Netherlands.
Material and psychological aid
Two tremors (the first with a strength of 6.3 on the Richter scale, the second of slightly weaker strength of only 5 on the Richter scale) destroyed half of Petrinja in central Croatia where roughly 24,000 people live. The surrounding towns were also seriously affected. Seven people were killed, several dozen were injured, residential buildings, schools, shops, offices, farm buildings in agricultural areas were damaged.
The houses were uninhabitable. Among others, Caritas Polska purchased special residential containers as a form of aid.
-After the quake, we stayed at my brother-in-law’s house for three weeks. Unfortunately, we had to go back to work a week after the disaster. Fortunately, we were given a temporary home and were able to quickly return to a relatively normal life, says Marijan Likević.
The family of Branka Odorović also lives in the containers provided by Caritas. The school her son Daniel attended was destroyed. Their modest house, in which they lived before the disaster, was badly damaged.
“We did not receive any other help, so we are very glad that Caritas helped us. It was not only material but also psychological aid. I felt that my family was well looked after and that they were safe. I am rather optimistic about the future, although I do not know exactly what will happen. I know other families that do not have such a home and there is no indication that they will receive it soon,” explains Branka Odorović.
Thousands of euros for people in a crisis
The funds were allocated not only to one-off support at a crisis moment. “As part of long-term assistance, Caritas Croatia plans to build new houses from scratch for the most badly affected families. This project is already being carried out with Caritas Polska, it involves several years of cooperation,” explains Krzysztof Iwiński, head of the foreign aid department at Caritas Polska, who this year visited Petrinia to assess the scale of the damage and the results of the aid provided by Poles.
The President of the Polish Bishops’ Conference, Archbishop Stanisław Gądecki, established Sunday, 24th January 2021, as “Solidarity Day” with Croatia. His Excellency drew attention to the harsh living conditions for the country’s inhabitants after the earthquake. “It was the strongest earthquake in 140 years. Its epicenter was near the capital city of Zagreb,” said the Archbishop. He also appealed for prayer and financial support for the victims.
Polish citizens also helped the Belgians, Dutch, and Germans who were struggling with the effects of summer storms. For individual support for the victims in Germany and the creation of an assistance center in one of the German municipalities, we managed to collect 500,000 euros. 100,000 euro to help victims of summer disasters in Belgium and the Netherlands respectfully, was also raised. As in Croatia, in the other countries mentioned, Caritas Polska helps in cooperation with local Caritas.
Christian willingness to help and a sense of connection
-Polish people willingly engage in helping victims of natural disasters, wars, and catastrophes around the world, and in the case of tragedies affecting the inhabitants of European countries, the motivation is not only the Christian readiness to help, but also the sense of connectedness resulting from closeness and the awareness that it is not such a long time ago that help from these countries flowed to Poland – emphasizes Fr. Dr. Marcin Iżycki, director of Caritas Polska.
Funds to help the injured were collected in Polish churches on 25th July, Caritas Polska also ran an SMS collection and made its account available for the needs of the campaign.
Caritas Polska helps victims of natural disasters in cooperation with local Caritas branches. It is part of the Caritas Europa and Caritas Internationalis networks.