.- Catholic Relief Services and its Caritas partners in Haiti have provided food and water to hundreds of thousands of victims of the massive January earthquake and have provided medical aid to thousands. The agency says it has raised over $38 million for the task and is “extremely grateful” for all its donors.
More than 100,000 people have been fed by Catholic Relief Services (CRS) in Port-au-Prince, the organization reports. Just days after the earthquake killed an estimated 200,000 people and left as many as one million homeless, CRS turned a golf course in the Haitian capital into one of the first relief camps. About 40,000 people have been served there.
CRS is collaborating with the local Church and Caritas partners including Caritas Haiti and the Caritas Internationalis confederation.
A CRS team worked with Haitian colleagues to restore operations at St. Francois de Sales hospital, one of the country’s oldest. Though the Port-au-Prince hospital was 70 percent destroyed, CRS worked with the hospital administrator to restore its capacity to receive patients. Volunteer medical teams are now performing up to 200 critical operations per week.
Relief camps are becoming more organized but the rainy season—which begins in April—is looming, CRS reports. The relief agency is increasing efforts to build temporary shelter and prevent the outbreak of disease from polluted water and poor hygiene. It has begun installing large water storage bladders throughout the capital and has begun construction on latrines and washing stations that will serve thousands of people at various CRS sites.
Joan Rosenhauer, CRS Executive Vice President for U.S. Operations, said CRS was “extremely grateful” to U.S. Catholic dioceses, parishes and schools. These started mobilizing their networks immediately.
Rosenhauer said they have “generously and creatively” supported CRS work in Haiti.
CRS says it has raised more than $38 million for its emergency response. Parishes have held second collections and colleges and universities have set up special web sites. Catholic schools have held special Masses, prayer services, concerts and fundraisers.
“We even heard of one little girl who sold all of her stuffed animals to raise donations,” Rosenhauer said. “We really appreciate every effort, no matter how small or large.”
The CRS website is at www.crs.org.