How Catholic Organizations are Responding to the Haiti Earthquake

Tags: Currents Crux, Faith, Inspiration, World News

On August 14, a 7.2-magnitude earthquake struck southern Haiti, killing over 2,200 people.

Catholic organizations in Haiti are on the ground providing food, shelter, and essential services to the communities that were left with nothing after the earthquake.

“Our initial distributions are really focused on shelter, access to clean water and hygiene products, making sure that they can take the necessary precautions to keep from getting ill in these less than optimal conditions,” said Beth Carroll, Catholic Relief Services.

Haiti’s Civil Protection Service reports that more than 50,000 homes were destroyed in the earthquake. Yet, those on the ground recall how even in times of crisis, Haitians remain a people of strong faith.

“After the first earthquake, one of our partner’s son was killed when his house collapsed on him. He buried his son and then he was out there leading prayer services and praising God, and that just epitomizes the faith of the Haitian people, despite what they suffer and go through,” said David Adams, Cross Catholic Outreach.

Non-profits such as Catholic Relief Services and Cross Catholic Outreach have long histories working in Haiti. They say that by working with the Church in Haiti they are able to provide relief to those who need it most.

“The Catholic Church is integral to helping us get the goods into the country in the first place, because of their duty-free privileges, and then we work in the field with very committed priests, nuns, Catholic lay people, and there is a lot of synergy there in how we work,” said Adams.

“The Church is so tied in to every community, we can reach the most vulnerable, those most in need, the population that can be forgotten because they are so far off of the main road or out of the public eye,” said Carroll.

An interim government has been trying to manage the humanitarian crisis in Haiti since the country’s president, Jovenel Moïse, was assassinated in his home on July 7. In 2018, President Moïse met with Pope Francis, who shared his message of hope for Haiti.