The director general of Caritas Haiti was at Caritas Internationalis' Vatican headquarters this week. In meetings to discuss the current situation in the nation, he expressed gratitude for the Catholic-based assistance and assured that his branch is working to make Haitians a part of their own redevelopment.
More than a month has passed since the catastrophic earthquake in Haiti brought the capital city of Port-au-Prince to the ground, claiming an estimated 230,000 lives.
In his introductory address at a meeting with members of Caritas Internationalis (CI) on Wednesday, Director of Caritas Haiti Fr. Serge Chadic indicated the way to approach the current situation in the country.
“It is improper to dwell on other people’s suffering," he said. "The only appropriate response is resourceful charity to alleviate suffering and destitution, whilst respecting human dignity and evangelical principles.”
Fr. Chadic also praised the internal response to the tragedy, saying that "Haiti has shown such generosity and solidarity that people don’t know whether to cry or admire this nation for its courage."
The priest brought the "greetings, friendship, courage and generosity of the rest of the population" who survived the disaster to the meeting and thanked Caritas, members of the international community, Caritas and Christians from every continent who have pledged and provided relief.
Many others are involved in offering relief in Haiti, he added, "but without the CI network, I’m convinced that the extent of the post-earthquake disaster in Haiti would have been limitless."
As part of a two-month intensive assistance plan, Caritas members worldwide have distributed emergency shelter kits to more than 35,000 people and are continuing to provide health care, water and psychological support daily.
In his speech, Fr. Chadic acknowledged the necessity of Caritas Haiti taking on a greater role to empower Haitians to "participate in their own development" and reassured members of CI that his office has already taken measures to implement this "consolidation initiative."
"Caritas Haiti," he observed, "has great confidence in its partners – CRS and the fellow Caritas organizations who are at the National Office. Caritas Haiti welcomes CI’s dedication, expertise and spontaneity, and we would like to reassure all its partners that they will not be disappointed with the confidence they in turn have placed in it."