Sunday, September 21, 2008

Regional Catholic Church In Solidarity With Haiti

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad and Tobago: The Roman Catholic Church in English, Dutch and French Caribbean has expressed solidarity with the people of Haiti following the series of disastrous hurricanes that have caused hundreds of deaths and widespread damage in the last few weeks.

At the meeting of the Permanent Board of the Antilles Episcopal Conference (AEC) in Port of Spain last Thursday (September 11), the Bishops received an update on the Haiti crisis following the effects of Hurricanes Fay, Gustav, Hanna and Ike from Archbishop Michel Meranville of St. Pierre and Fort-de-France in Martinique, who is the liaison of the AEC with the Haitian Bishops Conference.

In a symbolic gesture of immediate support the AEC approved a donation of US$5,000 dollars to the efforts of the Haitian Bishops Conference to help alleviate the immediate disaster needs of the people of Haiti. The AEC, currently headed by Archbishop Donald Reece of Kingston, Jamaica, also mandated Archbishop Meranville to visit Haiti as soon as possible in expression of the solidarity of the rest of the region and to identify ways in which to further support the Haitian Bishops in their disaster response efforts.

The AEC comprises the Roman Catholic Bishops of 19 dioceses across the Caribbean from Belize and Bermuda in the West and North, to Curacao, French Guyana and Suriname in the South and East.

During the meeting the bishops also received news from the Castries, St Lucia based Antilles Sub regional Office of the Catholic Relief and Development Agency CARITAS that Caritas Haiti office is already distributing emergency food and non-food items in the most affected dioceses in close coordination with Caritas USA (Catholic Relief Services) and with all humanitarian partners on the ground.

Caritas Haiti is also implementing an emergency relief programme for the next 3 months to provide 4000 poor families (approximately 20,000 individuals) in 6 affected dioceses with immediate humanitarian food and non-food items, drinking water, hygiene kits, and water purification tablets. Caritas Haiti will also manage 5 multi-family shelters by providing them with food, water, shelter, hygiene kits, and psychosocial support.

Source: CNN

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