CRS leaders head to tsunami region as agency expands programs to $150 million

Author: Mendoza College

BALTIMORE, MD - Catholic Relief Services (CRS) is expanding long-term reconstruction efforts in tsunami-affected regions to $150 million in programs to help rebuild communities in India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Thailand over the next five years.  

As the agency deepens its commitment to long-term rehabilitation of the region, CRS leaders are traveling to Indonesia and India this week to assess the agency's work to date and to ensure programs are responding efficiently and effectively to the needs of the communities. CRS Board of Directors Chairman Bishop Robert Lynch, bishop of St. Petersburg; Board Member Dr. Carolyn Woo, Dean of the Mendoza College of Business at the University of Notre Dame; and CRS President Ken Hackett will arrive in Jakarta, Indonesia, March 24 and will travel through Aceh Province through early next week before visiting India. They will be available for interviews during their visit.  

"One of our fundamental responsibilities as the leadership of CRS is to ensure we are good stewards of the resources given to the agency," said Ken Hackett. "After all, it is through the compassion of the American people, the Catholic community in particular, and the strength of our staff and partners on the ground that we have been able to provide assistance to survivors at such a high level of responsiveness and quality."  

CRS so far has received more than $126 million in donations, allowing the agency to expand original program plans of $80 million to $150 million. Although CRS raised its long-term rebuilding plans above what it has so far collected, the agency is confident there will be sufficient private and U.S. government funds to cover program costs over the next five years.

CRS continues to be a leading agency in both the emergency and recovery phases of the tsunami response. Working in close coordination with local government, international agencies and other private voluntary organizations, CRS is providing a range of short- and long-term programs to improve the lives of people affected by the tsunami. Key activities include providing short-term and long-term shelter; revitalizing market structures; strengthening the operations of local humanitarian organization partners; repairing and rebuilding infrastructure such as bridges, schools and community buildings; trauma recovery; reestablishing occupations and livelihoods; and building programs to protect vulnerable children and women from all forms of exploitation. For more information on recovery efforts, go to

Delegation Visit Details:   Ken Hackett, Bishop Robert Lynch and Dr. Carolyn Woo will arrive in Jakarta Thursday, March 24 and will travel through Aceh Province until March 30. The delegation will continue on to India March 30 to April 1.