CRS Backs Help for Victims of Mongolia Flooding

In late July, heavy rains poured down on urban and rural areas of Mongolia. The severe flooding that resulted killed dozens of people, washed away 2,000 homes, and damaged or destroyed water systems.

“Up to 20,000 people are now exposed to harsh weather conditions, unclean water and poor sanitation,” says Father Pierrot Kasemuana, Executive Director of Caritas Mongolia. “Most of these people have lost everything they had.”

Caritas responded quickly with drinking water, food, used clothing, and items like candles. In the space of three days, Caritas also moved over 500 newly-homeless people, especially the elderly and children, to a new location provided by the government.

Caritas is now focusing on adequate sanitation. “Because pit latrines overflowed, many deep wells have been damaged, causing hygiene concerns,” says Father Pierrot. “We are going to build six new deep wells. Meanwhile, we plan to distribute 3,600 jugs of drinking water.”

Identifying the most vulnerable homeless families, Caritas plans to build 168 shelters — the portable, lattice-framed yurts traditionally used by nomadic Mongolians. “Sixty-eight will be in Ulaanbaatar City, while the remaining 100 will be in remote parts of the Gobi desert,” says Father Pierrot. Caritas is working swiftly to build before winter, when the temperature can fall well below zero Fahrenheit.

Catholic Relief Services is providing $50,000 in aid to Caritas Mongolia. “Mongolia may seem like the outer reaches of the world to some Americans, but our church partner is working tirelessly there,” says Eda Detros, who oversees programs for CRS in Asia. “We are committed to helping.”

Reported by Laura Sheahen, CRS regional information officer, Asia and the Pacific Rim

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