Haiti: Hurricane Jeanne – October 2004

October 2004

The situation in Gonaives is catastrophic. Jeanne is considered the worst hurricane to hit the Caribbean in over a decade. The slow pace of relief is compounding the suffering of traumatized survivors. At least 1,500 were killed, some 200,000 are homeless and 1,056 are missing. The missing are presumed dead – washed out to sea or under the rubble of collapsed homes in areas still inaccessible.

The situation in Gonaives remains critical. The dead are being buried in mass graves around the town in an attempt to prevent the spread of epidemics. Many are suffering from diarrhea while others, many of them children are contracting gangrene. Amputations are being performed under horrendous conditions. Most injuries being treated are gashes from collapsing roofs or pieces of roof hidden by the mud that still covers the city, where most people walk barefooted.

The floods inundated a clinic for AIDS patients, ending the lives of over 150 who drowned along with the German priest in charge of the clinic. The priest had been working in Haiti for almost 20 years.

Relief agencies are working around the clock trying to get food to victims. Planeloads of aid have arrived in Port au Prince, the capital, but getting it to Gonaives is a nine-hour drive with the final part of the route covered by a 4 foot deep lake, littered with mired aid trucks.

On Thurs. Sept. 30th, Fr. Scott Binet, MD, OSCam, Animator and Coordinator of the CTF, left Port au Prince on a CTF mission with members of the Camillian Community located in Haiti, to Gonaive. They transported food, medicine, clothing and cleaning supplies. In this relief effort the CTF is looking to work together with Catholic Relief Services, the Conference of Religious Superiors of Haiti and the bishop of the affected diocese.

Please pray for the suffering people of Haiti, for Father Scott and all who are ministering to the people affected by this natural disaster. This mission is expected to last several weeks.

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