The Compass: Official Newspaper of the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay
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October 13, 2000 Issue
Local News

Salvatorians give flood relief

New Holstein center helps in Mozambique and plans to assist Belize hurricane victims

By Patricia Kasten
Compass Associate Editor

"Many people were saved, but after the emergency, the organizations returned home and left people in an indescribable poverty."

That's how a Benedictine priest described the aftermath of severe flooding this spring in the south African nation of Mozambique. Fr. Ildefons, stationed in nearby Tanzania, recently contacted Br. Regis Fust, SDS, of the Salvatorian Mission Warehouse in New Holstein to thank him for a recent shipment of a half million tons of cornmeal and rice. The February floods hit Mozambique just before the harvest season and, since the topsoil was washed away, there is little hope of new crops.

"In the real flooded areas," Br. Regis said, "the land is contaminated, so it won't be ready for a harvest for years."

That's why continued aid is so important. Br. Regis' big concern now is that, while the floods in Mozambique "got a lot of publicity at the time, (they) have since been forgotten."

Fr. Ildefons has asked for another shipment, but coordinating transport is difficult and costly. Br. Regis said the first shipment cost $96,321.95. He sent another seven containers of foodstuffs and medicine on Oct. 6. Shipping is currently being arranged via Tanzania, which will get it to the flood-ravaged areas faster than using Mozambique ports.

Br. Regis estimates that it will cost $40,000 to ship these supplies. The Mission Warehouse has plenty of supplies, but needs donations of money to cover shipping costs. Supplies are sent from New Holstein to countries all over the world.

The floods hit Mozambique just as the nation was finally recovering from 17 years of civil war that ended in 1992. The death toll from the flooding is over 700, with nearly 500,000 people left homeless and another two million people affected, according to the U.S. Agency for International Development and World Relief.

A missionary Daughter of Charity, stationed in Mozambique, said "the raging waters destroyed as much in four hours as did the 17 years of war."

Br. Regis says that letters they receive from missionaries in the region indicate that, without international aid, people are starting to suffer from malnutrition and related diseases.

Besides Mozambique, Br. Regis is now worried about the aftereffects of Hurricane Keith which hit Central America, especially Belize, last week. Fifteen were killed in Central America before Keith headed for Mexico's gulf coast. On Oct. 6, The Salvatorian Warehouse received an urgent request from the director of Caritas Nationale in Managua, Nicaragua, for any supplies they could send.

Br. Regis immediately contacted local food supply sources and, within hours, had arranged for a shipment of 70,000 pounds of food to be sent to Nicaragua on Oct. 11. Other assistance will be sent to Central America as soon as more shipments and shipping costs can be arranged.

(For more information or to make a monetary donation, contact the Salvatorian Mission Warehouse, New Holstein, WI 53061; phone: (920)898-5898.)

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