Thursday, April 9, 2009

Held Hostage - Aid for 8000 Rwandan Orphans

From Catholic Relief Services:

Baltimore, MD, April 9, 2009 – Life-saving food aid destined for Catholic Relief Services (CRS) programs in Rwanda is among the cargo of the Maersk Alabama, the ship hijacked by pirates off the coast of Somalia.

Forty-nine containers aboard the ship hold 860 metric tons of bulgur wheat that are to be used by CRS relief workers for some of the poorest populations in Rwanda.

The wheat will feed 8,000 of that country’s neediest people through two programs. One targets 5,600 of those considered most vulnerable -- people living with AIDS, orphans and those identified as significantly malnourished -- living in the southern district of Rwanda, one of its poorest areas.

The other program feeds 2,400 people throughout the county who receive food at safety net centers such as orphanages, old age homes and homes for the handicapped.

The wheat on board the hijacked vessel is a six month supply for the programs. CRS hopes that the ship will now be able to make its way to its destination of Mombassa, Kenya as any interruption of the food supply for these vulnerable Rwandans could be critical to their health.

CRS also prays for the safe return of Capt. Richard Phillips who is being held hostage by the pirates.

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Catholic Relief Services is the official international humanitarian agency of the U.S. Catholic community. The agency provides assistance to people in more than 100 countries and territories based on need, regardless of race, nationality or creed. For more information, please visit www.crs.org or www.crsespanol.org