An SVDP perspective on Canadian floods

by | Aug 23, 2013 | Disasters and Responses, Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Vincentian Family | 1 comment

SVDP Canada floodoingSociety of Saint Vincent de Paul – Disaster Relief – Southern Alberta Flood of 2013

Vincentians rally quickly to assist the families in need from this disaster started very quickly after the flood.

Bishop Henry of the Diocese of Calgary involved SSVP in his committee for long term relief.  Calgary Central Council organized volunteers from the Vincentian community to travel by bus to High River and to Siksika Nations to assist in clean up.

At the SSVP National AGA in Ottawa  an appeal was made for funds to provide financial backup to Conferences that were providing food for those in need.  The strongest appeal came from members of Calgary’s St Francis Youth Conference whose members live in the flood affected area. They were able to tell the sad story of disaster and evacuation.  They met with Penny Craig and Michael Thio, the National and the International Presidents.  They like all of the Vincentians present were completely taken by their plea for assistance.  Contributions came from SSVP Conferences and Councils across Canada as well as from CGI (SSVP International).  Many private donors also contributed from both Canada and USA.  This relief fund currently sits at over $35,000.00.  This money will be used by SSVP Conferences that service the flood affected communities for the purchase of food to feed those in need.

Vincentians had to do more.  The Edmonton Council answered the call to assist Holy Spirit School in High River by providing “Back to School” backpacks and school supplies as well as extra cash to purchase what was needed for the kids in need.  These backpacks were accepted with the love and gratitude that assures all of us that this community will bounce back from this disaster even stronger that anyone ever thought it could.

But our Society is best working with disaster recovery in the “second wave” response in the service of those in need.  This was apparent with SSVP in Edmonton and their experience of assisting in the disaster recovery from the devastating fires in Slave Lake Alberta two year ago.  They proved that the strategy of providing clothing, bedding, house hold items and handyman tools only when they are needed results in less waste and efficient delivery.  The community that is recovering from disaster knows what they need and when they need it.  Often the best time to deliver is when temporary housing has been built and the families are settling in.  Highway trailers can be donated for a few months and converted into distribution centres for the disbursement of goods to these families in need. Working with the Calgary Knights of Columbus, Edmonton Vincentians provided a truck load of these items for their distribution to High River and other areas in need.  More will be available from our Vincentian family on request.

Word Document with pictures Flood



1 Comment

  1. John Freund, CM

    Excerpt from John Allen…
    “Speaking of AsiaNews, it’s a good resource for following the stunning assaults on Christian targets currently underway in Egypt. Last weekend, the agency released a list of churches, convents, monasteries and other Christian institutions that, at that point, had suffered damage at the hands of radicals linked in one way or another to the Muslim Brotherhood. Since the violence is continuing unabated, these numbers are already out of date.

    One week ago, however, the totals verified by observers on the ground, according to the AsiaNews report, stood at:

    14 Catholic churches and convents
    35 Orthodox and evangelical churches
    9 other Christian institutions
    58 Christian homes
    85 Christian-owned shops
    16 Christian-owned pharmacies
    3 Christian-owned hotels in Upper Egypt
    75 buses and cars with Christian occupants
    That works out to 247 incidents, which as of Aug. 17 had left seven people dead, 17 kidnapped, and hundreds injured.

    Here’s an example of the atrocities. On Aug. 14, hundreds of Muslim extremists stormed a school run by Franciscan nuns in Bani Suef (Upper Egypt), where they reportedly raped two teachers. Three nuns were paraded before the crowd as prisoners of war. In an interview afterward, the nun who runs the school said she and two other sisters were saved by another teacher, a Muslim laywoman, who persuaded the assailants to let them go. The nun also said the local police never showed up despite numerous calls for help.

    Given the scale of things, it’s not hard to understand why some Egyptian Christians are comparing their experience to Kristallnacht. Sam Tadros, a Coptic Christian and a historian at the Hudson Institute, says there’s been nothing like the present wave of anti-Christian violence in Egypt since 1321, when a spate of church-burnings prompted an exodus that saw the country’s Christian population drop from roughly half to its present 10 percent.

    My new book, The Global War on Christians: Dispatches from the Front Lines of Anti-Christian Persecution, doesn’t even hit bookstores until Oct. 1, and already I feel like the section on Egypt needs an update.

    In the abstract, it’s hard to know what Christians in other parts of the world can do that might make a difference. If nothing else, however, we can at least factor the experience of those suffering persecution into our thinking and insist that our politicians do the same.

    On Monday, the leader of the Coptic Catholic community in Egypt, Patriarch Ibrahim Isaac Sidrak of Alexandria, released a statement on the violence. The full text follows:

    With pain, but also with hope, the Catholic Church in Egypt is following what our country is experiencing: terrorist attacks, killings and the burning of churches, schools and state institutions. Therefore, out of love for our country and in solidarity with all lovers of Egypt, Christians and Muslims, we are trying to do our best to communicate with friendly organizations around the world to clarify for them the reality of events taking place in our country.
    We would like to express the following:

    Our free, strong and conscious support for all state institutions, particularly the armed forces and the police for all their efforts in protecting our homeland.

    Our appreciation of sincere nations to understand the nature of events while flatly rejecting any attempt to interfere in the internal affairs of Egypt or to influence its sovereign decisions, whatever the direction might be.

    Our thanks to all Egyptian and international media that report the news and events objectively and impartially while condemning those media that promote lies and falsify the truth in order to mislead world public opinion.

    Our thanks to our honorable Muslim compatriots who have stood by our side, as far as they could, in defending our churches and our institutions.

    Lastly, we address the international conscious and all national leaders that they understand and believe that what is happening in Egypt now is not a political struggle between different factions, but a war against terrorism.

    In conclusion, we express our condolences to all families and relatives of the victims. We ask the Lord to heal all the injured.”

    +Ibrahim Isaac

    Patriarch of Alexandria for Coptic Catholics

    President of the Council of Catholic Patriarchs and Bishops in Egypt

    Two points merit underlining.

    First, the statement contains a caution not to paint with too broad a brush. For every Muslim who torches a church or beats a Christian, there’s also a Muslim who rushes in to help. Reports suggest, for instance, that many of the fires set at churches would have done far more damage had it not been for scores of Muslims who stepped in to help combat the flames.

    That point would seem to offer a dose of hope about the possibilities for Muslim/Christian partnership on the other side of the crisis.

    Second, the statement also contains a fairly blunt rebuke to Western policymakers inclined to take a “pox on both your houses” stance vis-à-vis both the Muslim Brotherhood protestors and the military crackdown. According to the country’s chief Catholic authority, at any rate, what’s going on is not principally a political contest between two sides with legitimate grievances, but a war against terrorism.

    Translation: Before condemning the army for its brutality, consider the alternative.

    For the record, the leader of Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox community, Pope Tawadros II, issued a similar statement at the same time supporting the police and military in their struggle against “dark terrorists, both internal and external.”

    At a bare minimum, that’s something to ponder as the international community considers its policy choices. The voice from the trenches may not always be right, but it should always be heard.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This