CAFOD supporters raise £1.2million pounds for Haiti earthquake crisis
Catholics from across the Diocese of Plymouth in schools and parishes have responded with deep concern and compassion to the people of Haiti following January’s earthquake. The Catholic community in England and Wales has now raised £1.2million pounds through CAFOD for the earthquake crisis in Haiti. As a leading member of the Caritas Federation, CAFOD will be able to use this money to support the vital humanitarian relief work of its sister agencies on the ground.
The money raised will also allow CAFOD to support Caritas partners with valuable technical assistance; such as planning and logistics for the longer term recovery.
Haiti is facing one of the worst humanitarian crises in its history following an earthquake registering 7.0 magnitude on the Richter scale, leaving tens of thousands dead and up to two million people homeless, the majority sleeping out in the open with no where else to go.
CAFOD Director Chris Bain said: “This generosity and compassion to the dire suffering and unimaginable hardship that face the Haitian people hits at the heart of the catholic community, as always they have been overwhelming in their generosity. It has been a wonderful response.
“The money raised will go directly to support life-saving humanitarian relief effort, distributing food, water, tents and medical help, to the most vulnerable in the worst affected areas.”
Caritas partners were able to respond within 24 hours of the earthquake hitting the capital Port au Prince, with distributions of food, water, blankets and tents. Several days later they were able to reach the severely damaged city of Leogane and distribute more than 11,000 blankets, water purification tablets, tents and tarpaulins.
CAFOD’s sister agencies will plan to work directly in 20 camps, but also distribute aid through its contacts with priests and religious groups working in 32 parishes. CAFOD’s Head of Humanitarian Matthew Carter said: “We have been talking and listening to staff on the ground who are responding swiftly using their country expertise and church networks to ensure that vital aid gets through to those most in need.
“This money will support the scale up of humanitarian relief efforts, not just in Port au Prince but in areas out side of the capital like Leogane, where 80 per cent of buildings were damaged by the earthquake.”
Carter continues: “Despite all the logistical problems aid is reaching people and saving lives. CAFOD’s humanitarian team will also support our partners in developing longer term plans for the reconstruction needs of the Haitian people.”
From time to time the area continues to feel aftershocks which add to the distress and suffering of those now living out in the open. It is still difficult to verify the numbers killed but the United Nations currently estimate from 100,000 to 200,000.
Chris Bain said: “The coordination and solidarity of the Caritas Federation has been crucial in responding to the needs of the millions who are now suffering, living without loved ones, friends and family.
“Haiti in the coming months and years will not only need the bricks and mortar of reconstruction but development of skills and systems which respect the people and value each human life.”