Catholic Relief Services caring for victims of Haiti earthquake

HeridosHaiti CatholicReliefServices 091018 Victims of the Oct. 6, 2018 earthquake in Haiti. | Catholic Relief Services.

Catholic Relief Services, the U.S. bishops' charitable outreach, is providing first aid and sending material aid to the areas affected by the 5.9 magnitude earthquake that struck Haiti Saturday.

The earthquake occurred at 8:12 pm Oct. 6 about 12 miles from the department of Porte-de-Paix. It lasted 53 seconds and was felt in eight out of ten of the country's departments. A tsunami alert was not sent out after the earthquake.

Haiti's Civil Defense department reported Oct. 8 that 15 people died, 333 were injured, and 7,000 homes were destroyed.

Beatriz Afanador, the CRS communications officer for Hispanoamerica and Latin America, told ACI Prensa via e-mail that a CRS team had already made an assessment of the emergency and that "a truck was due to arrive Oct. 9 with supplies including tarps for temporary shelters, hygiene kits with buckets, chlorine, shovels and other items."

"The truck will be arriving sometime in the afternoon. Since the area is remote and extremely poor, a long term effort will have to be made to help them get the aid they need to rebuild or repair their homes and find the means to sustain themselves."

CRS indicated in a communiqué that the most significant damage occurred in the departments of Nord Ouest and Artibonite.

"Most of the injuries in the Nord Ouest department were due to panic and resulting accidents. Due to the remote location and the available emergency medical services, the main hospitals in the affected areas report that they do not have the capacity to respond to the needs," the statements says.

It was also reported that "the facade of the church in Plaissance was cracked, but there are no reports of damage to the main infrastructure. All the roads and bridges appear to be open at this time."

Finally, CRS said that immediately after the earthquake there were reports of panic in many of the country's cities.

"The injuries in Nord Ouest were mainly due to this reaction, including motorcycle accidents, cardiac arrest and premature birth. The population remains tense as rumors are circulating of a bigger earthquake," the communiqué concludes.

CRS is currently working hand in hand with the Civil Defense, the Haitian Red Cross, and other NGOs that are aiding the affected areas.

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