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Wednesday, October 22, 2003


VATICAN CITY, OCT 22, 2003 (VIS) - Archbishop Celestino Migliore, permanent observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, spoke yesterday before the U.N. General Assembly on Item 40: Strengthening the Coordination of Humanitarian and Disaster Relief Assistance of the U.N., including special economic assistance.

He stated that "the world has advanced to such a degree that it is often possible to foresee natural disasters, thereby helping reduce harm to people and damage to property." Yet, he added, "emergencies are so numerous, intense and varied that the Secretary-General has quite fittingly noted that because of the severity and suddenness of these 'loud emergencies', others are reduced into 'forgotten' or 'silent' ones. This situation worsens when assistance is colored by partiality and incoherent policies, not to mention when crises are ignored or even put aside because of misrule and misguided politics."

Archbishop Migliore stated that the vastness of the problem, however, "should not paralyze us into inaction. ... Simple gestures of giving, oftentimes combined with rapidity and coordination will make a difference and bear fruit. ... The Holy See has taken an active role in this regard. More than 30 years ago, it established the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum" to harmonize and encourage the activities of church organizations, associations, NGOs and other groups involved in the field of social and charitable assistance to people in countries hit by natural disasters and wars. In particular, the Pontifical Council has been engaged in intensifying its humanitarian action in favour of the victims of almost all types of natural catastrophes, especially in developing countries." The Church also, he noted, works through such agencies as Caritas Internationalis and Catholic Relief Services.

DELSS;DISASTER AID;...;UN; MIGLIORE ;VIS;20031022;Word: 280;

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