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Groups rush aid to Miami’s sister diocese

Diocese of Port-de-Paix hit by 5.9 magnitude earthquake, strong aftershock

One of the victims of the Oct. 6 earthquake in Haiti is tended to outdoors. So far the death toll is 15 dead, 333 injured, and 7,000 homes destroyed.

Photographer: Catholic Relief Services

One of the victims of the Oct. 6 earthquake in Haiti is tended to outdoors. So far the death toll is 15 dead, 333 injured, and 7,000 homes destroyed.

Catholic News Agency

Port-au-Prince, Haiti | 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 Oct. 6.

Cracking in the walls of St. Louis de Montfort Church in Port-de-Paix due to the Oct. 6 earthquake in Haiti. (COURTESY | Amor en Accion)

Photographer: COURTESY | Amor en Accion

Cracking in the walls of St. Louis de Montfort Church in Port-de-Paix due to the Oct. 6 earthquake in Haiti. (COURTESY | Amor en Accion)

Cracking in the walls of the seminary in Chansolme, Diocese of Port-de-Paix, due to the Oct. 6 earthquake in Haiti. (COURTESY | Amor en Accion)

Photographer: COURTESY | Amor en Accion

Cracking in the walls of the seminary in Chansolme, Diocese of Port-de-Paix, due to the Oct. 6 earthquake in Haiti. (COURTESY | Amor en Accion)

Locally, the lay missionary group Amor en Accion also is raising funds to send help to the Archdiocese of Miami’s sister diocese, the poorest region of the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere.

The earthquake occurred at 8:12 pm Oct. 6 about 12 miles from the area of Port-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.

“As our friends in the Cathedral of Port-de-Paix recited the Rosary of the Divine Mercy, they had another aftershock (earthquake – magnitude of 5.2) on Sunday,” said an email blast sent by Amor en Accion. “As you can understand, our friends are frightened to spend the night in their own homes. The community has found refuge and peace by staying in the parish hall since the event.”

The organization is continuing to receive reports of damage to the parishes and sister schools it supports in the Port-de-Paix diocese but has heard that the people they work with are safe.

“Blessed be God none of our kids in our schools were killed,” said Father Rodolphe Balthazar, rector of the cathedral.

Beatriz Afanador, the CRS communications officer for 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 longterm 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 said.

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 concluded.

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

HOW TO HELP

Donations for Haiti earthquake relief can be made online to:

 

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