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Visit of Brother Emili to Haiti

10/11/2010: Haiti

After the terrible earthquake which devastated the lands of Haiti in January 2010, the country is back in the newspaper headlines with the ravages cholera is causing among its population. It never rains but it pours. Once again, another strike arouses the collective conscience and the question: And what is to be done?In a letter to the Provincials, Brother Emili Turú, Superior General, includes some paragraphs on his recent visit to Haiti.A few weeks ago, coinciding with the 25th anniversary of the Marist presence in Haiti, I had the opportunity to visit our brothers and works there. Unfortunately, 9 months after the earthquake, there is still an enormous amount of work to be done. As you know this earthquake is considered one of the most serious humanitarian catastrophes in history. Official estimates put the death toll at more than 200,000 people, with more than 250,000 people injured.The organisation Refugees International stated recently, The people of Haiti are still living in a state of emergency with a humanitarian response that appears paralysed. To date, 1,500,000 Haitians are homeless and more than 200,000 have not even a tent or canvas for shelter. Of the “temporary shelters” planned, only 4.5% have been built. 2,000,000 people are exposed to malnutrition. As regards economic aid, as of September 2010, the Haitian people had received only 19% of the resources promised by the international community. Although the main difficulties are centred in the capital, Port-au-Prince, the rest of the country has also been affected because of the 600,000 or so persons who have moved to other parts of the country, including where our Brothers are. So far FMSI has collected a sum of € 264,421.8 from provinces, communities, educational centres or individuals. To this sum € 153,891.20 has been added. This was the amount remaining in the “Tsunami Fund” and which the General Council decided to make available for Haiti. Thus a total of € 418,313 is available for projects using the normal criteria of FMSI. During my visit, I was able to discuss with the provincials of Canada and México Occidental how to work in a co-ordinated manner with one another and with the local Church, especially the religious congregations. Some projects are already underway with the support of the Province of México Occidental. I hope that within the next few months we can finalise the type of aid, in line with our mission, that we can provide. We will keep you informed.

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