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HAITI: Victims of earthquake still in need

Salesian missionaries provide hot meals to 500 families impacted by the earthquake in Les Cayes


(MissionNewswire) Salesian missionaries are continuing relief services in Haiti after a 7.2-magnitude earthquake killed more than 2,000 people and left thousands injured and homeless on Aug. 14. Homes and businesses have collapsed and infrastructure needs to be rebuilt. Missionaries recently distributed hot meals to 500 families in Les Cayes.

There is much work still to be done. Thousands of now homeless people are living in camps. Government coordination of humanitarian aid is still pending. Private organizations, religious congregations and volunteers are providing humanitarian assistance to the victims in the absence of support from the state, even though there are not enough of these agencies doing this work.

Agents from the Ministry of the Interior and Territorial Collectives are identifying houses to be demolished and are designating them with a red mark. Those to be repaired are left with a yellow mark, and those that are intact according to inspectors are marked with green. The Armed Forces of Haiti and agents of the Ministry of Public Works, Transport and Communications have already demolished several buildings in the south, including schools, churches and private homes. No reconstruction efforts have started.

Salesian missionaries helped in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake and have continued relief efforts. Father Cazy Guilteau, rector of the Salesian community, said that they have already assisted close to 2,500 victims. Daughters of Mary Help of Christians has assisted nearly 2,000 victims in three cycles of relief distributions.

Sister Aline Nicolas, director, noted that despite the fact that her school was completely destroyed, she is very concerned about the situation and is calling on benefactors to continue to assist the victims. She said, “We don’t want to keep them in continued dependence, but at the moment they are really in need.”

The Tzu Chi Foundation has been one of the most active international organizations in the southern part of the country in the last couple of weeks. In partnership with local institutions, it has distributed bags of rice and other food kits to thousands of victims.

Faced with the overwhelming situation, the Oct. 4 start of school has been delayed with headmasters of schools that have been destroyed concerned about how they will educate students going forward.

Salesian missionaries are no strangers to relief and recovery efforts in Haiti. They were instrumental in the emergency response and relief efforts in their communities after the 2010 earthquake. An integral part of the infrastructure in Haiti prior to the earthquake, they were among the first responders—providing shelter and medical aid; means to securely transport, store and distribute relief supplies and clean drinking water; and, perhaps most importantly, an understanding of how to get things done in Haiti.

Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco, has set up a fund to help relief and reconstruction efforts in Haiti. To give to the Haiti fund at Salesian Missions, visit SalesianMissions.org/lp/Haiti-earthquake.



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ANS – Haiti – Salesians distribute hot meals to 500 families affected by the earthquake

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