Caritas Haiti, the local branch of the Catholic pastoral charity Caritas International, has provided relief aid to Haiti after the passage of Hurricanes Fay, Gustav, Hanna, and Ike left hundreds dead and 600,000 people in need of aid. Caritas Haiti staff in Gonaïves, one of the worst-hit cities, report that the situation is bleak, with the director general of the organization saying it is “desperate.”
In Gonaïves 25,000 people have lost their homes and are in 150 temporary camps. Acres of farmland have also been destroyed.
The Bishop of Gonaïves has transformed his compound into a provisional relief center, which now supports about 500 victims of the hurricanes.
Before the passage of Hurricane Ike, Caritas had already sent two trucks of food and other relief items into the city. Caritas Haiti plans to provide emergency relief such as fresh water and sanitation to 4,000 people. It also plans to build five shelter camps and help to rebuild 500 homes.
The organization hopes to help 2,000 families recover from the disaster.
Caritas Haiti Director General Père Serge Chadic appealed for assistance, saying:
“The situation in Haiti is desperate. These storms have left people with nothing. We need outside help.
“The people are in need of food shelter, and water,” he continued. “In a country already wracked by conflict and food riots, we’re appealing to the outside world for support.”