Caroline Brennan is the Emergency Communications Director for Catholic Relief Services. In her role, she travels to and/or works in areas facing natural or man-made emergencies, conducts interviews and capture the reality of what is happening through stories and video. She also provides communications support to local partner organizations as they respond to rapidly-changing needs of emergency relief and recovery efforts.
Recent travels include to Bangladesh for the Rohingya refugee crisis in June 2018; Uganda for the South Sudanese refugee crisis in April 2018; Jordan and the Middle East region in February 2018 (and regularly since 2012); Bangladesh early on in the Rohingya crisis in October 2017; Bulgaria, where she documented the lives of Syrian refugees three years into their asylum, in August 2017; and Baghdad and Fallujah in March 2017, where she documented the latest conditions facing Iraqi families uprooted by ISIS.
Since 2012, Caroline has spent much of her time in the Middle East given the Syrian crisis. Caroline was in Nepal after the 2015 devastating earthquake, in Central African Republic at the height of the internal conflict in 2014, and in the Filipino islands in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan in 2013.
Caroline was based in CRS’ South Asia regional office in Delhi, India, for 3 years covering the South and Southeast Asia regions – including the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, 2005 Pakistan earthquake, and extensive programing across Afghanistan, India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. She also lived in rural, western Ethiopia for 2 years as a teacher. With CRS, she has worked across 22 countries documenting people’s pursuits to overcome adversity and lead empowered lives.
Previously, Caroline worked with the U.S. Committee for Refugees in Washington, DC, the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago, and served a Peace Corps volunteer. Caroline grew up in a military family that eventually settled in Austin, TX. Caroline graduated with a Journalism/Spanish degree from Texas A&M. She has four sisters.
Areas of Expertise (8)
Texas A&M University: B.A., Journalism / Spanish 1994
Recent Media Appearances (5)
After pope’s Myanmar visit, Catholic Relief Services continues its humanitarian aid to Rohingya
They arrive in Bangladesh hungry and exhausted, said Caroline Brennan, the emergency communications director for C.R.S., sometimes after traveling for days in fear for their lives.
In mid-November she traveled to the region to report on conditions in the fast-growing refugee do-it-yourself camps. “I found myself at the Sabrang Harbor, which is an entry point along the Bangladesh border where people were arriving,” Ms. Brennan said. “I was there very early one morning. You would just see these small boats…just filled to the brim with families. A majority of those fleeing are children...
Pope Francis faces minefield in Myanmar over the Rohingya
Among those trying to prevent them falling pray to slavery networks is the Catholic aid agency Caritas Bangladesh, which is part of the broader umbrella group Caritas Internationalis. They’re currently providing what Caroline Brennan defined as “life-saving relief” to some 68,000 people.
Brennan works for Catholic Relief Services (CRS), the international aid agency of the United States bishops’ conference. CRS is partners with Caritas Bangladesh.
“Our support will expand per needs on the ground, and likely prioritize safe shelter, clean water and sanitation, and dignified camp infrastructure,” she told Crux days after returning from Bangladesh. She was in the southeastern border, where thousands still arrive in small wooden boats, “filled to the brim with families.”...
Cardinal Bo urges Pope Francis not to use the word ‘Rohingya’ during Myanmar visit
Beyond the legal status, the healing process will take some time. Caroline Brennan, who works for Catholic Relief Services, the foreign aid office of the U.S. Bishops’ Conference, was recently in the region at the southeastern Bangladesh border, visiting the refugee settlements.
Speaking with Crux via Skype, she said the families she encountered in the “sprawling, intertwined camps” set up in an area that “was just greenery and hillside back in July,” spoke of fleeing their villages after petrol was poured on their houses, hiding for days and nights in the forest, “begging their children to keep quiet,” and having to go on without knowing if the rest of their group was actually following...
Catholic agencies prepared to help in Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands
St. Louis Review
Caroline Brennan, the agency's emergency communications director, said Sept. 20 that communications with staff and partner agencies in the Caribbean islands had been severed by the latest storm.
The U.S. bishop's overseas relief and development agency has been working in Antigua, Barbuda, Dominican Republic and Cuba since Irma left homes, churches, schools and businesses in shambles. Brennan said some of the same communities in the Antilles, particularly Dominica, would be in need again.
"The severity of the storms and winds were (devastating), especially in areas hit by Hurricane Irma," Brennan said.
As Maria approached, people still recovering from Irma were again seeking shelter.
"We anticipate most likely to provide shelter support and basic supplies for people out of homes," Brennan said. "Depending on the devastation, you can anticipate similar devastation for storms like this in a similar backdrop."...
Agencies stretching to meet needs of Syrians displaced by civil war
The Catholic Sun
Caroline Brennan, senior emergency communications officer at Catholic Relief Services, recently returned from visiting CRS-affiliated programs in Jordan and Lebanon that are assisting with displaced Syrians.
The Syrians she encountered mostly fled their homes on a moment’s notice, so they need “everything you and I have used so far this morning,” such as beds, toiletries, hair brushes, food, towels and clothing, Brennan said.
The House hearing witnesses said about 70 percent of the people who fled Syria are not living in formal refugee camps. Instead they crowd into existing towns, taxing infrastructure such as water, sewer and electrical services.
Brennan said she met families where two or three women and their children were crowded into an apartment, “bursting at the seams.” Their husbands were not with them, some having been killed in the war, others having remained behind to protect property...