CNEWA

COVID-19: CNEWA Begins Rushing Emergency Aid to India, Africa

CNEWA is rushing emergency aid to our partners in India and Africa to support those in immediate danger of starvation and dehydration and to help contain the spread of the coronavirus in vulnerable areas served by the Eastern Catholic churches, particularly in India’s central and northern states and in Egypt, Eritrea and Ethiopia.

“We have sent funds — thanks be to God for our generous and loyal donors — to address the extreme hunger that is now devastating some of the most marginalized populations in the countries we serve,” said CNEWA President Msgr. John E. Kozar, highlighting as one example in India the work of Syro-Malankara Catholic Bishop Jacob Mar Barnabas of Gurgaon, New Delhi.

“From their community kitchen, Mar Barnabas, together with priests, sisters, seminarians and volunteers of his eparchy, are preparing hot meals for up to 1,500 people a day,” he said, adding that the bishop and his team are also preparing food kits for jobless day laborers and their families. “Most of those cared for by the bishop are homeless or migrants and most do not qualify for any benefits from the state.”

CNEWA has also deployed emergency funds to help prevent the spread of the corona virus, such as face masks, gowns and gloves, as well as soaps, sanitizers and disinfectant supplies. “Our partners in Eritrea, Ethiopia and Egypt know exactly where these supplies are needed now,” Msgr. Kozar said.

“The health care activities of the churches in these countries are broad, ranging from humble medical kits slung over the shoulders of sisters on bikes in Eritrea, to parish dispensaries in Egypt and clinics and modest hospitals in Ethiopia.”

These emergency funds form the first phase of CNEWA’s COVID-19 campaign, which CNEWA launched in late April in solidarity with Pope Francis, who has called for Christians not to abandon those most susceptible to the coronavirus — those living on the peripheries, the poorest of the poor.

As part of this historic initiative, CNEWA has partnered with the Holy See’s Congregation for the Eastern Churches, delegates and nuncios of the Holy See, local church superiors, and religious sisters who serve throughout the Middle East, Northeast Africa, India and Eastern Europe. All funds raised through this effort are directed to COVID-19 relief — helping, in a particular way, families living in poverty, children and the elderly, as well as people with special needs, refugees and the displaced.

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