This page was updated February 12, 2010 at 3:33 pm CST (GMT-6)
Click below to visit the official White House page for Haitian earthquake relief. Features trusted donation options, ways to check on friends and family, and details on the US government's response to the emergency.
Tim Serban, our NACC member and member of the American Red Cross’ Spiritual Care Response Team (SRT), provides us with an update on the Red Cross efforts in Haiti.
Haiti Earthquake – February 10, 2010
The needs in Haiti are immense, but the Red Cross continues to make progress helping earthquake survivors in need. Red Cross teams are assessing ways to meet immediate needs and also how to provide long-term recovery assistance, such as continued provision of household supplies and addressing emergency shelter.
The American Red Cross has spent or committed $80 million to meet the most urgent needs of earthquake survivors.
The Red Cross is helping survivors address health needs and the emerging threat of the spread of infectious disease.
The American Red Cross is in Haiti as a part of the broader and coordinated Red Cross and Red Crescent network.
Director Mission Integration & Spiritual Care
Providence Regional Medical Center Everett, NWSA
I share the lament for the people of Haiti and with those that are encountering overwhelming unmet need. The struggle to feel that more can be done is balanced with my experience and the realities of an overwhelming disaster. We view this world through a very narrow lens called the television camera. We see the weariness on the faces of reporters as they reach the critical overload moments of little sleep, overwhelming need and what appear to be very slow processes when everywhere you turn, there are such unmet needs.
After having written the chapter in our book Disaster Spiritual Care on Care of the Dead, my heart just breaks over the reality of the magnitude of this disaster. The fact that so many have died and that mass graves have become a necessity is one thing, but not seeing a plan to record the images of the dead, no memorial, ritual, and in the desperation of it all, a dump truck and a backhoe become the means of transfer and I have to hearken back to the images of the landfill at Staten Island and the streets of New Orleans and most recently the hospital and chapel morgue at Pago Pago. We simply cease to function rationally when every aspect of an infrastructure collapses. The fact that this has been the last resort, using mass graves despite world warnings never to consider this option as it could destabilize entire governments, but I have to realize that there is so much yet undone. In the life cycle of a disaster this is still the earliest phase of “Impact and Rescue.” And this rescue phase could go on in multiple waves, if the healthcare infrastructure is decimated.
We have to pace it like a very long marathon, all the while seeing the images of desperation and pleas for help now. How does one balance both? I’m not sure we have figured it out yet. The greater tragedy could be if the media gets tired of it, or if there is some rationalizing of the public. This is a very significant moment right now.
Tim Serban, Director Mission Integration & Spiritual Care
Providence Regional Medical Center Everett, NWSA, Everett, Washington
Warning: some extremely graphic images
The slideshow below was shared with us by a member. The text is in Turkish but the images speak for themselves.
Click below to read:
Haiti Disaster Report BRIEFING National Red Cross Monday 1-17-10 A (pdf file)
Earl E. Johnson, M.Div, BCC, Senior Associate, Spiritual Care, Partner Services, American Red Cross NHQ, wrote this past week, to us, as colleagues:
One of our divisions, International Services, is tasked with coordinating our response to the devastating Haitian earthquake. My Division, Disaster Services, is helping to support both the efforts of our federal government partners, and International responders, and share response information with faith based disaster response organizations who seek to assist those so profoundly impacted by this disaster.
The main priority now is Search, Rescue, and Recovery. There are issues with mass fatality management and all efforts are being coordinated through the State Department for federal assets and Southern Command (US Military), for logistical transport of both human and material resources. The International Federation of Red Cross and Crescent Societies are seeking to bring communications equipment so that survivors may contact their loved ones outside the country and report on their safety and welfare. The poorest country in our hemisphere has been devastated in its major population center. Those with so little to lose have now lost everything. No chaplains are currently being recruited to deploy with the American Red Cross. And, our federal teams are under extreme hardship restrictions---they must be completely self-sufficient. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Haitian people who have experienced so much loss.
The Steering Committee of the SCC prepared the following statement on January 14, 2010:
Our sisters and brothers of Haiti are experiencing devastating loss! The cognate groups of the Spiritual Care Collaborative express their compassion for our sisters and brothers of Haiti as they endure horrific suffering, and mourn with them at the death of thousands of their loved ones, neighbors, and leaders. We are especially aware of the unimaginable spiritual and emotional trials they are facing, as they now daily seek their lost and struggle to survive. Read more...
Our leaders are committed to work collaboratively with one another and with our respective associational members to respond swiftly and compassionately. We have many trained spiritual care responders for the American Red Cross who are prepared to be mobilized as needed.
However, as spiritual care leaders in diverse ministry settings throughout the United States and Canada, we are compelled by faith traditions that embrace a God who hears and responds to the cry of humanity and by the transformative power of compassion to work to mobilize and facilitate responses of care wherever our members serve, and lead our organizations to reflect upon and respond to the plight of this devastated people. We will use our respective pastoral care settings to encourage our colleagues and friends to find ways to express their solidarity with and support for our neighbors, our afflicted human family in Haiti.
Spiritual Care Collaborative: Association of Professional Chaplains, National Association of Jewish Chaplains, Association for Clinical Pastoral Education, Canadian Association for Pastoral Practice and Education, American Association of Pastoral Counselors, and National Association of Catholic Chaplains
Click below to read (pdf file):
Haiti Relief Update Memo 1_25
The following letter was forwarded to us - it provides an on-the-ground perspective of the events in Haiti as they unfold:
Report of Fr. Provincial to Fr. General
Port-au-Prince, 14 January 2010
Fr. Wilhelm Steckling, omi
Good morning, Father General,
I am using what is left of the battery charge on my laptop to write you this message. You have certainly learned that on Tuesday, 12 January 2010, at 4:53 p.m., a violent earthquake (a magnitude of 7.3 on the Richter scale) passed through Haiti and has practically destroyed the city of Port-au-Prince.
Most of the big buildings have collapsed.
The provincial house was seriously damaged and the new construction (the annex) has collapsed.
The scholasticate has also caved in. The two formators (Frs. Muscadin and Almonor) as well as the two scholastics who were there (Ronel and Johnny), and Fr. Jean-François Printemps who was visiting there, are safe and sound.
The other scholastics were at a conference at CIFOR, being presented by a Brazilian doctor. The CIFOR building collapsed and the conference presenter died, as well as an Oblate scholastic, Weedy Alexis, and a Spiritan scholastic, Stéphane Dougé. Presently, the minibus of the Monfortain scholastics is blocked under the debris, with 14 passengers aboard, 9 of them Montfortains. They can do nothing, up to this point, to rescue them. One of them is alive for his voice can be heard and they are talking with him, but that is all that can be done.
It's a catastrophe, total devastation in Haiti. Since Wednesday evening, the inhabitants of Port-au-Prince have to sleep under the stars, as do we, for there are aftershocks from time to time. Everyone is afraid and we do what we can to take precautions.
There are no means of communication or of information. With a bit of luck, the telephone might work. I have not yet been able to communicate with our confreres in the province.
There is no electricity, no water at the provincial house, no internet. I imagine that it is the same situation just about everywhere in Port-au-Prince.
Yesterday, Father Loubeau and I were obliged to go out onto the streets to get to the scholasticate. Everywhere there is crying, weeping and wailing. The streets are piled high with dead bodies.
There were other collapsed buildings: the Port-au-Prince archbishop's residence, the National Palace, the Cathedral, Sacred Heart church, the Major Seminary at Turgeau, the Major Seminary for philosophy at Cazeau, the Episcopal church of the Holy Trinity and several other large churches and schools, Catholic and Protestant.
It was only yesterday morning that they were able to retrieve the remains of Mons. Joseph Serge Miot, Archbishop of Port-au-Prince. The Vicar General is still under the debris: they no longer hear his voice. A professor at the Major Seminary at Turgeau and three seminarians were trapped inside the seminary. No one can hear them.
Up to this point, they have named eight dead among the seminarians of Cazeau. (But the Oblates at Blanchard and Sibert have been spared).
Some aid arrived yesterday morning from the United States, France and the Dominican Republic. But they cannot do much because there are still the aftershocks. They are saying that the aftershocks should end by Friday evening.
The deceased Oblate scholastic had to be buried yesterday afternoon together with the Spiritan, in the courtyard of the Spiritans (their church and their house were also destroyed). There is no functioning morgue. There is still no help. This morning at 8 o'clock, we are going to have a funeral service together with the Spiritans.
You can understand, Fr. General, that the damages must be immense. One still cannot estimate them, even though the Prime Minister has spoken of about 100,000 deaths. The total is much worse than that for there are still the wounded, the disappeared and the material damages.
Several priests, brothers and religious women are unaccounted for.
Fr. General, this was simply an attempt to describe for you what we are experiencing. Because I must hurry so as not to use up the battery, you can understand that I am unable to tell you everything or respect formalities.
Thank you for your understanding and your solidarity.
We know that you are thinking of us and that you are lifting us up in prayer to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, our helping mother.
Fr. Gasner Joint, omi
The following info was sent by Meredith M. Young, Chaplain at St. Vincent’s Health System in Birmingham, Alabama:
The sponsors of Ascension Health have a strong presence in Port au Prince, the capital city of Haiti. 100% of a donation will be sent to support the Sisters in Haiti. Checks may be made payable to Seton Institute, which is the international outreach arm of Ascension Health. Seton Institute is working with the Catholic Consortium for International Health Care, which is made up of members from Catholic Health Systems across the U.S. to generate a response to the needs in Haiti as well.
Checks may be mailed to the following address:
Attn: Haiti Earthquake Relief
P.O. Box 140182
St. Louis, Mo. 63114
At Providence Hospital in Washington, DC, we immediately began collecting money to be sent to aid in the rescue, recovery and sustaining of the people in Haiti. We have planned a short prayer Service to be held at 11:00 AM in the hospital Chapel tomorrow. Each day the people of Haiti have been remembered in our Mass.
We have several Associates who have family members in Haiti…some of whom they have gotten no word so far. Let us continue to do all that we can both spiritually and financially to help.
God bless you.
Sr. Elaine Jordan
I have offered dovena masses for the healing of mind and hearts of all in Haiti.
Fr Kevin Ikpah
Our health care system has asked each entity to begin a drive for funds to be sent to Catholic Relief Services; we have a list of employees who have friends and family in Haiti and our Human Resources department will make arrangement for them for support groups for their needs, we are having a special liturgy this Thursday for all those hurt, missing, lost and the rescue workers and inviting all staff who can to attend; there are daily petitions offered during our Offertory Prayers for all of Haiti.
Sister Mary Alice Aschenbach CIJ
Vice President Pastoral Care
Mercy Medical Center
Rockville Centre, NY