Held on the feastday of St. John the Baptist, the Sovereign Order of Malta’s patron
This morning in the Vatican City, Pope Frances received in audience the Grand Master of the Sovereign Order of Malta, Fra’ Matthew Festing.
During the meeting, the Grand Master illustrated to the Pontiff the Order’s work in assisting refugees and migrants in various parts of the world, from the Middle East to Africa. Fra’ Matthew Festing talked about the numerous projects underway to provide healthcare for displaced people fleeing from wars, violence and poverty, and also the social support projects for refugees in the countries of destination, such as France and Germany.
National Associations, rescue corps and volunteers unite to highlight the worldwide drama
The number of refugees and displaced persons worldwide has reached levels not recorded since the end of World War II. In Syria, over four years of conflict now mean that a family is forced to leave home every 60 seconds. It is calculated that every 3 seconds a person becomes displaced in some part of the world. 52 million people are in flight from disasters, wars and famine. Half of them are children. Some 17 million are refugees, over 33 million are internally displaced – that is, forced to leave their homes although staying in their country – and about 1.5 million are asylum seekers. In 2014, there were 866,000 new asylum applications in the industrialised countries – the majority were Syrians followed by Iraqis. Numbers that reflect a world in flames with burgeoning new crises and old trouble spots flaring up.
The Grand Master of the Sovereign Order of Malta, Fra’ Matthew Festing, received in audience in the Magistral Palace for the presentation of their Letters of Credence, the new Ambassadors of:
Slovenia, H.E. Tomaž KUNSTELJ
Panama, H.E. Miroslava ROSAS VARGA
Latest interventions of the Order of Malta in the World
Cologne/Banda Aceh 02/06/2015
Malteser International provides relief to refugees in Indonesia and Myanmar
Thousands of members of the Muslim Rohingya minority from Myanmar, as well as people fleeing from poverty in Bangladesh, have attempted to flee by sea to Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand. A great number of those have found themselves in distress at sea in dangerously overcrowded boats, often for weeks.
The Order of Malta’s worldwide relief agency, Malteser International, is on the scene: “The refugees stranded in the vicinity of our project in Banda Aceh are living in the confined space of a temporary refugee camp, sleeping on tarpaulins in overcrowded tents without enough to eat,” reports Cordula Wasser, head of Malteser International Asia team.