.- As the Haitian government has declared four days of prayer to mark the one month anniversary of the devastating Jan. 12 earthquake, leaders from Catholic relief groups met to prepare further aid for quake victims.
At least 230,000 were killed in the quake, while half a million were made homeless.
Archbishop Bernardito C. Auza, apostolic nuncio to Haiti, on Thursday hosted a meeting for the Caritas affiliates at the Holy See’s embassy in the Haitian capital.
The meeting examined relief operations and long term challenges such as education, agriculture, reconstruction and disaster preparation, Caritas reports.
“We must help Haitians become self-sufficient. Haiti needs more structured support,” the archbishop said. “However, I look to the future with confidence.”
Also at the meeting were Caritas Internationalis Secretary General Lesley-Anne Knight, Caritas Latin America and Caribbean President Bishop Fernando Bargallo, Caritas Haiti’s diocesan directors, and representatives from Caritas organizations from around the world.
“Caritas is committed to not just rebuilding destroyed infrastructure but also to securing the dignity and sustainable development of all Haitians,” Lesley-Anne Knight explained.
Emergency shelter kits provided by Caritas Haiti and American Caritas member Catholic Relief Services (CRS) have helped 35,000 people. Another 10,000 kits have been prepared for distribution while 5,000 tents from Caritas Austria have arrived.
Caritas has provided food to over 200,000 people, medical supplies to 10,000, and other essential aid items to over 60,000.
CRS has distributed U.N. World Food Program rice to almost 200,000 people and hopes to complete its special distribution to another 57,000 this week.
Ten Caritas-sponsored sites are providing health care and 40 trained people are promoting public health messages in the camps. The Caritas-supported St. Francois de Sales Hospital is performing 20-25 surgeries every day.