Pope's representative to Haiti gives first-hand account of destruction
Apostolic Nuncio to Haiti, Archbishop Bernardito Auza.
Apostolic Nuncio to Haiti, Archbishop Bernardito Auza.

.- Speaking with the Vatican's Fides news agency, the Apostolic Nuncio to Haiti, Archbishop Bernardito Auza, described the devastation in the streets of the capital Port-au-Prince.  He reported on what he had observed of the situation of religious and government officials in the area and described widespread destruction.

Archbishop Auza stated his observations of the situation in the capital to Fides, saying, "Port-au-Prince is totally devastated.  The cathedral, the archbishop's office, all of the big churches, all of the seminaries have been reduced to rubble."

The nuncio said that the resident priest at that cathedral had informed him of the likely death of Archbishop Joseph Serge Miot as he was buried under rubble along with hundreds of priests and seminarians. Other news reports confirmed that the archbishop did pass away in the earthquake.

Auza reported that many government buildings had been razed.  All of the Ministry buildings but one were on the ground, as were the Presidential Palace and the schools. 

"Parliament with the Senators, the schools with the children, the supermarkets were reduced to nothing," the nuncio stated.

The nuncio had made his way across the city to see the Haitian President and "express his condolences and solidarity" and found that, because they had been outdoors, he and his family had been saved although their home had crumbled.

People who live in front of the collapsed U.N. headquarters had reported to Auza that the head of that mission, Hedi Annabi, was trapped inside with hundreds of others.

The nuncio said that he had returned to his residence later in the morning to find "Priests and Sisters in the street, no longer with homes. The Rector of the seminary saved himself, as did the Dean of studies, but the seminarians are under the rubble.  You hear yells everywhere from underneath the rubble." 

"The CIFOR (according to Fides, an institute of study for religious men and women) collapsed with students inside that were participating in a conference.  The office of the nuncio resisted (the earthquake), there was no one injured, but all of us are in shock!" he said.

"So many things were broken, including the tabernacle, but we are more fortunate than others.  Many relatives of the personnel are dead, their houses destroyed.  Everyone is asking for help.  We will have a problem with water and food before long.  We cannot go inside and stay there for very long because the ground continues to shake, so we're camping out in the yard."

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