Haiti – Emergency Response Appeal

“In these moments of continued trial, may you feel the comfort, compassion, and embrace of our Blessed Mother. Our Lady of Perpetual Help, patroness of Haiti, intercede for us!”
Archbishop José Gomez, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

 

Saturday, 14 August was a beautiful sunny day in Melbourne.  Whilst many of us went about our lockdown life in the sunshine admiring the early spring blooms, another part of the world was being devastated by an earthquake. 

Southwestern Haiti was struck by an earthquake of 7.2 magnitude followed by several aftershocks reducing many churches, hotels, schools and homes to rubble.  Some bridges have also been destroyed or damaged, creating difficulties in providing aid and assistance.  As I write this on Tuesday, 17 August reports have come in that over 1,400 people have died, thousands have been injured and over 35,000 families have been left homeless and as the day progresses these numbers continue to grow.

Following the earthquake on Saturday, heavy rains from Tropical Storm Grace are creating another crisis for the exhausted, newly homeless people who have lost their homes, livelihood, families, and friends and have nothing left but to pray.  Over the next few days, it is expected that Tropical Storm Grace will dump up to 10 inches of rain on the region that has already been rocked by the earthquake.  Landslides, mudslides and flash flooding may follow.  

A shattering blow for the people of Haiti, who have been struggling to rebuild after a 7.0 magnitude earthquake killed over 220,000 people, injured 300,000 and displaced over 1.5 million in 2010.  In addition, parts of Haiti are still recovering from Hurricane Matthew which struck in 2016, killing hundreds and causing widespread destruction.  

Many Haitians are facing growing hunger, poverty and healthcare services are already overwhelmed by Covid-19 as well as ongoing political instability and violence.

With the rise in kidnappings and gang violence, the delivery of supplies and aid by road to the hard-hit areas is proving challenging.

The United Nations has called for a “humanitarian corridor” to be established through Haiti’s troubled areas to enable aid to flow to the regions affected by the earthquake.  

It is hoped that the “humanitarian corridor” will provide a quicker and safer transfer of goods and services.

Aid has begun to be delivered but there is an immediate and urgent need for food, water, shelter, hygiene kits and first aid on the ground. 

This urgent work can only happen with your help.  To provide support, please donate online to Caritas Australia’s Emergency Response Appeal or telephone 1800 024 413.

Thank you for your support and prayers for the people of Haiti.

By Kate Baines

 

Main Image: Earthquake destruction in Haiti. Photo Catholic Relief Services

Annual Appeals Outreach

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