Haiti earthquake: church provides emergency aid

Haiti earthquake aid

The international Catholic pastoral charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) has approved an emergency aid package worth €500,000 (NZ$850,000) following the 7.2 magnitude earthquake which struck Haiti on 14 Aug.

To date, more than 1300 people have died, and at least 5700 have been injured, according to information from the Haitian civil protection agency on 16 Aug.

Haiti has suffered multiple crises recently. It is barely a month since the assassination of the President of the Republic, Jovenel Moïse.

In the past 2 years, a wave of violence and abductions have afflicted the country and droughts have plunged the rural population into deeper poverty.

“On top of all this, the earthquake has inflicted on thousands of families a situation worse than all the rest. It is an impossible situation. The people are in total shock,” commented the executive president of pontifical foundation ACN International, Dr Thomas Heine-Geldern.

ACN is in contact with churches in the most seriously affected dioceses. They are assessing where the greatest need lies in the immediate aftermath.

Catholic Relief Services (CRS) is sending teams to provide clean water, sanitation, shelter and emergency supplies.

“It is quite possible that Haiti is going to need more help than ever before,” said Akim Kikonda, CRS’ country representative in Haiti.

“Prior to the earthquake, people here were already struggling to make ends meet,” said Kikonda.

“The area was slowly recovering from the devastation caused by Hurricane Matthew in 2016. But drought and two recent tropical storms have largely destroyed the little livelihoods people had been able to restore. After Saturday’s earthquake, it is only going to get worse.”

Fiammetta Cappellini, a Haiti-based country representative for AVSI, told CNS that she recently travelled from Port-au-Prince to Les Cayes. She estimated that some 30% of the buildings were severely impacted by the earthquake.

“The Catholic community here has experienced a lot of churches and Catholic schools in the area that went down. That worries us a lot, because education is maybe the only way out for this country. Now again, we face a closed-school situation impossible to manage,” Cappellini said. “And so this is a very hard (situation) long term.”

AVSI, she said, will focus on providing materials for temporary housing and prioritize pregnant women with children and women with large families.

“We plea to you to pray for the country, to pray for all those who have lost their loved ones, those who have been wounded and those who have lost everything. May Our Lady of Perpetual Succour, Patroness and Protector of Haiti, bring them all support and consolation,” Dr Thomas Heine-Geldern appealed.


ACN International



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