Media CenterCRS Welcomes Pope Francis to Mozambique and Madagascar

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Lusaka, Zambia:
Dooshima Tsee
Catholic Relief Services
[email protected]
+260 97 720 6794

Baltimore, Maryland:
Nikki Gamer
Catholic Relief Services
[email protected]

Message of hope and peace to underscore local Church efforts in region faced with climate change and isolated conflict

LUSAKA, ZAMBIA, August 28, 2019 – Catholic Relief Services (CRS) joins local Church partners in welcoming Pope Francis to Southern Africa, a region facing drought and hunger, violence and deadly storms. Amid ongoing drought and six months after two of the most devastating storms to hit Southern Africa in recent history, Pope Francis’ presence will help raise global awareness about the myriad of issues affecting the region’s poor and vulnerable.

CRS has been working with the local Church in both Madagascar and Mozambique – where the pope will be visiting from Sept. 4-10 – for decades and has been on the frontlines of the emergency response to the back-to-back cyclones. In addition, CRS is supporting local dioceses in Mozambique so the Catholic Church can be a stronger and more present actor in the promotion of peace in the country.

“We welcome the pope’s vision for a more just and peaceful world,” said Erica Dahl-Bredine, CRS' country representative for Mozambique. “His visit is especially well-timed given the heightening of tensions ahead of the general election.”

Beyond escalating tensions in the run up to the election, Mozambique is dealing with the aftermath of cyclones Idai and Kenneth, which destroyed entire communities, left more than 400,000 people displaced and killed upwards of 600. The cyclones destroyed farmers’ harvests in a region where food insecurity was already strained due to prolonged periods of drought.

“The deadly combination of drought, cyclones and conflict have created a desperate, widespread need for food,” said Dahl-Bredine. “Given the severity of both storms, communities will be recovering for decades. We hope the pope’s trip will let people know that they’ve not been forgotten.”

Following his visit to Mozambique and before proceeding to Mauritius, Pope Francis will visit Madagascar, where the impact of climate change and pests like Fall Armyworm have led to poor harvests in rural areas, leaving more than a million people in need of urgent support. Pope Francis made climate and the environment an official concern of the 1.1-billion-member global. Church when he released his encyclical on the environment and care for creation in 2015.

“We applaud the pope’s continued leadership on environmental issues, especially in a country with some of the world’s most unique biodiversity,” said Carla Fajardo, CRS’ country representative for Madagascar. “We hope his visit will prompt further discussions about what can be done globally so that vulnerable people in places like Madagascar don’t have to suffer.”


Catholic Relief Services is the official international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States. The agency alleviates suffering and provides assistance to people in need in more than 100 countries, without regard to race, religion or nationality. CRS’ relief and development work is accomplished through programs of emergency response, HIV, health, agriculture, education, microfinance and peacebuilding. For more information, visit or and follow Catholic Relief Services on social media in English at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube; and in Spanish at: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


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Dooshima Tsee, Catholic Relief Services' Regional Information Officer for Southern Africa

Regional Information Officer for Southern Africa

Dooshima Tsee
August 28, 2019

Dooshima Tsee is the regional information officer for southern Africa for Catholic Relief Services. She serves as the point person for media, actively connecting journalists with engaging stories about CRS’ work throughout the region. Operating out of Lusaka, Zambia, Dooshima travels throughout the area to report in-depth stories on a wide range of issues, including food security, combating...More