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Brazilian gov’t mourn over death of humanitarian worker in Haiti earthquake

January 14th, 2010
Joao Pessoa

Zilda Arns

The Brazilian government on Wednesday mourned over the death of Zilda Arns, a Nobel Peace Prize nominee who was killed on a humanitarian mission in Haiti by the devastating earthquake Tuesday.

Arns, 75, a pediatrician and public health specialist, had planned to return home this weekend.

Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim said President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was shocked by the death of Arns, one of the founders of the Pastoral Care for Children and the Pastoral Care for the Elderly, two social action groups of the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil (CNBB).

“The president deeply regrets Zilda Arns’ death,” said Amorim. “it is a great loss. She was an extraordinary person.”

Brazil’s Senate President Jose Sarney said Arns was “an example of dedication to the children and the poor.”

Michel Temer, head of the House of Representatives, said Arns was unique in her fight against infant mortality and for the improvement of the poor people’s living conditions.

The Brazilian Pastoral Care for Children was founded in 1982 by Arns, her brother Archbishop Paulo Evaristo Arns and Archbishop Dom Geraldo Majella. The organization aims at promoting the development of the Brazilian children in poor living conditions, monitoring their growth and maintaining their health.

Since its establishment 28 years ago, the organization has made great efforts to reduce infant mortality and malnutrition in Brazil.

Currently it monitors 1.8 million children and 94,000 pregnant women in about 4,000 cities and towns across the Latin American country.

The Pastoral Care for the Elderly was founded in 1993 with an aim of promoting the physical, mental, social and cultural development of the aged people.

During her life, Arns received several awards for her work. Along with other 999 women around the globe, she was nominated candidate for the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize in what is called “1,000 Women for the Nobel Peace Prize” initiative.

Source: Xinhua

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