Caritas Haiti President urges solidarity for earthquake survivors
04 February 2010
The President of Caritas Haiti Bishop Pierre Dumas has called on the international community and aid agencies to “humanise aid” for the survivors of Haiti’s earthquake. Speaking in Rome, Bishop Dumas called on aid agencies to coordinate in providing quick and effective assistance. He said that Haitians don’t need talk, but a friendly hand to help them in this difficult time.
Bishop Pierre Andre Dumas speaks at a Programming meeting at the Port-au-Prince Caritas headquarters.
“We are very grateful for all the help we have received from many different nations. Without their help, we wouldn’t have been able to distribute all the aid that was sent,” said the bishop. “America, to name just one, has given us doctors, opened health centres to treat people and given lots of other support. Many other nations have also been extremely generous.”
“What we need now is to make the face of this aid more human and make Haitians themselves protagonists in this help. The Church, the UN, aid agencies and donor nations need to take this into consideration,” said the bishop. “There’s no logic to what happened. The only logic is how we react and in how we offer charity, solidarity and help to Haiti.”
The 7.0 magnitude earthquake which hit Haiti on 12th January has left three million people in need of help. “One world fell down but now there’s another one to build,” said Bishop Dumas. “This must be done without prejudice as everyone is in the same position now.”
To date, Caritas partners in Haiti have provided food to 108,678 people, and non-food relief items to 21,736 people. Caritas has supported St Francois de Sales hospital with medical supplies, volunteer doctors and nurses, food, and water to expand emergency medical care. Caritas has established three functioning operating rooms – conducting an average of 12 severe surgical cases per day – as well as a laboratory, X-Ray room and blood bank at the same hospital.
Bishop Dumas has urged the international community to involve the local Church and Haitian operators in the earthquake response.
Caritas acknowledges the vital role the military is playing in Haiti where security concerns are paramount. As Haiti’s police force was hard hit by the earthquake, Caritas and other agencies have relied on US soldiers and UN peacekeepers to help with crowd control at distributions.
Caritas is concerned that aid does not become militarised, and hopes the situation stabilises for NGO and community groups to be able to receive and deliver aid without military protection.
Bishop Dumas said that Haiti’s earthquake is an opportunity to unite people rather than divide them and that it is a chance to start again with a new vision. “With this crisis we are faced with the opportunity to find the goodness in every human being,” said the bishop.
Please contact Michelle Hough, who has recently returned from Haiti, on +39 06 69879721 or +39 334 2344136 or email@example.com
Conor O’Loughlin is in Haiti on Phone: M+ 353 86 2071942 or +353 86 607 4327; Skype: coloughlin; Email: COLoughlin@trocaire.ie