Officials fear that more than 100,000 people have died as a result of Tuesday’s 7.0-magnitude earthquake in Haiti.
The capital, Port-au-Prince, “is flattened,” said Haiti’s consul general to the U.N., Felix Augustin, who said he believed more than 100,000 people were dead. Hospitals are gone, and medical supplies and heavy equipment are desperately needed, he said.
The victims included Archbishop Joseph Serge Miot of Port-au-Prince.
“The lifeless body of Archbishop Joseph Miot of Port-au-Prince was found this morning under the rubble of the archbishops’ residence,” L’Osservatore Romano reported.
Archbishop Bernardito Auza, the Vatican’s apostolic nuncio in Haiti, told the Vatican missionary news agency Fides: “Port-au-Prince is completely devastated. The cathedral and the archbishop’s residence, all the big churches, all the seminaries are reduced to rubble.” The poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, some 80 per cent of Haiti’s ten million residents are Catholic.
Of course Catholic Relief Services is on the scene. CRS staff in Haiti is responding immediately to the earthquake that rocked Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti. Tuesday night the agency made an immediate commitment of $ 5 million for emergency supplies. NEW: As of Friday, CRS has increased its original funding commitment and is planning an emergency response with an expectation of raising $25 million from its generous supporters.
As of 9am Thursday, CRS reported phenomenal generosity noting that they have already collected $1.8 million in online donations for their Haiti effort — averaging about $200,000 an hour. NEW: As of Friday, CRS has already received more than $6 million in cash and commitments, including a $1-million disaster response donation from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and a $225,000 gift from the New York Yankees baseball team.
Archbishop Dolan, CRS chair, offers an update via a video message, where he describes Haiti as the “broken, bloody body of Jesus.”
The US Bishops wrote that “Our Church mourns the terrible suffering of our brothers and sisters in Haiti. . . Our faith compels us to pray for and reach out to our brothers and sisters in their time of suffering.”
CRS Resources on the Haiti Earthquake For Catholic Educators and Youth Ministers
Often young people want to know how they can help in times of struggle and emergencies like the devastating earthquake in Haiti. Please invite our young people to stand with us as one human family and a community of faith at this difficult moment in our world’s history. Invite the young people you serve to pray with and join in solidarity with our sisters and brothers affected by the earthquake in Haiti. The CRS prayer and educational resources attached and listed by description below can help explore the challenges facing the people of Haiti and possible ways of responding in faith.
To learn more about or contribute to the efforts of CRS in this emergency, please visit www.crs.org. Thank you for creating global community with us.
Prayer Service: A New Heaven and New Earth (Leader’s Guide)
Prayer Service: A New Heaven and New Earth (Handout)
Additional CRS Prayer Resources for Haiti
Lesson Plan for Middle and High School: Challenges and Hope in Haiti
NEW: Life Teen has also developed Unshakeable Faith, a response night, and made materials available for download.
NEW: Youth Specialties offered two additional resources: It’s Not Supposed to Be Like This by Jim Hancock and Rich Van Pelt (click here to download) and In the Aftermath by Kara Powell and Brad Griffin (click here to download)
It’s easy to view this all in “bigger picture” mode (and The New York Times has put up an interactive satellite map of Port-Au-Prince in Haiti showing the city both before and after the devastating earthquake of January 12th), but it is important to remember the personal stories as well. Bob Rice has one such story.
Finally, consider inviting your young people to take up Chris Faddis’ web-based encouragement to Fast for Haiti. Imagine what a difference could be made if thousands of teenagers, young adults and other Catholic’s decided to fast 1 to 3 meals and then donated $5, $10, or $15 to relief efforts to help the victims of the earthquake in Haiti?