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Diocesan Donations for Haiti Relief Surpass $500,000

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The Diocese of Raleigh’s response to the earthquake that devastated the island nation of Haiti now totals $549,702.96 from 84 of the Diocese’s 96 parishes and missions. St. Michael the Archangel Church in Cary, the largest parish in the Diocese with more than 18,000 registered parishioners collected $41,187.56. St. Patrick Church in Fayetteville collected $25,827.66, followed by Immaculate Conception Church in Durham with $22,234. All the money donated from a special collection to aid Haitian relief is being sent to Catholic Relief Services, the international relief and development agency of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

It’s been six weeks since 7.0 earthquake struck the impoverished country, taking the lives of more than 220,000 people and injuring tens of thousands of others. The quake destroyed or badly damaged approximately 70 percent of the buildings in and around the capital city of Port-au-Prince, leaving residents in the streets, finding refuge wherever they can.

Catholic Relief Services has been working day and night since the earthquake with its staff of more than 300, creating temporary shelters and providing food to a half-million people in the country. 

CRS reports the following on its Web site:
The agency distributed emergency shelter kits—waterproof sheeting, lumber and nails—to an estimated 6,500 families (about 32,500 people) at the Petionville golf course, where close to 50,000 people now live under sheets and other materials that will be useless as protection once the rainy season begins in March.

Though the port in Port-au-Prince was heavily damaged, CRS was able to unload a shipment of supplies from the U.S. Agency for International Development's Food for Peace program. Once the shipment was trucked in over hastily repaired roads that the quake had rendered impassable, a voucher system was set up at the massive camp for displaced people at the Petionville Club. Some 50,000 people got enough food for two weeks. The distribution went so smoothly, the system was adopted for use by all the agencies handing out food. The World Food Program divided Port-au-Prince into 13 areas for distribution of rice provisions, asking CRS to handle three locations, which it has completed.

Meanwhile, work on health projects continues at St. Francois de Sales Hospital, which CRS helped get up and running in the days after the quake. The hospital sees a steady rotation of doctors and nurses from the University of Maryland conducting up to 20 operations a day. CRS and the University of Maryland are both members of the AIDSRelief consortium that had been working at St. Francois de Sales treating patients with HIV prior to the earthquake. CRS has also set up teams of doctors, nurses and practitioners to run nine health sites across the city, some in informal camps, others in clinics.

As Haiti begins to fade from the headlines, the suffering of the people will continue. CRS, which has been serving the people of Haiti for 56 years, has made a long-term commitment to the people of the country to help them through this humanitarian crisis. You can follow their progress, week-by-week, on their Web site, www.crs.org.