YOUR GIFTS AT WORK
Please excuse my absence from this blog but I am having a challenge focusing my eyes after all the surgeries. This too will pass. What follows is a report to the Board of CRS about our work the last week in Haiti. It is for precisely this that I sought your generous assistance last week and this.
On the morning of January 20th, a 6.1 magnitude aftershock hit off the coast of Haiti, about 6.2 miles deep, about 35 miles west-southwest of the capital of Port-au-Prince (PaP). The Caritas PaP team reported that it was not strongly felt, though further structural damage is a possibility, and further assessments closer to the epicenter are still needed.
Highlights from Situation Report #8.1
- The Government has devised eight zones for the distribution of humanitarian assistance. Each zone will receive direct support by a national minister to coordinate the relief effort.
- A UN assessment team reported that Leogane and Gressier are the most severely damaged areas west of Port-au-Prince. Road access west of PaP is generally good (two lanes paved in most parts). Power remains off in all areas assessed, although the electricity distribution system appears mostly intact. Numerous makeshift camps have been established near the main road west from Port-au-Prince.
- A sufficient number of water treatment systems have been reported in metropolitan PaP. However, the USAID/DART anticipates greater need for water treatment centers outside metropolitan PaP, a prediction that the humanitarian community is working to assess.
- In addition to being the lead agency for the Petonville Club camp (golf course in PaP), CRS has been designated as lead agency for coordinating relief efforts in the town of Legoane, due west of PaP. CRS will primarily be responsible for basic needs (food, water, non-food items, including nurse/doctor teams as available).
- Staff continues to assess needs and coordinate with Church partners and other agencies to plan larger and more organized food distribution activities. Yesterday, CRS loaded three 2-ton trucks of food to be distributed by the National Catechists’ Committee in areas of PaP.
- The Haitian Ministry of Health has defined three levels of healthcare: mobile health centers, fixed health centers (minor health problems) and hospitals with surgical capacities. CRS and the University of Maryland are continuing collaboration to respond to medical needs, prioritizing the mobilization of shock trauma staff.
- CRS continues to work with the USCCB to develop and provide materials for US constituents eager to get involved and staying abreast of advocacy issues such as interest in adoption of Haitian children and temporary protective status for Haitians already in the US.
- The search and rescue team working through the Caritas team recovered two women from the Cathedral. Sadly, they also found the body of the Vicar General of PaP, Monsignor Charles Benoit.
- The funeral of Msgr. Joseph Serge Miot, the Archbishop of PaP, will take place on Saturday, January 23rd. Archbishop Dolan, Ken Hackett, Annemarie Reilly and Msgr. David Malloy will join the senior CRS staff in country to attend the funeral and to bring medical supplies.