Aid for Haiti Sought in Jeanne's Wake

ROME, SEPT. 21, 2004 ( Caritas Internationalis has launched an appeal for aid for the peoples affected by Tropical Storm Jeanne, which caused at least 620 deaths in Haiti.

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The most affected areas of the island are Gonaives, Port de Paix, Cape Haitian, Mapou, and the Gros Morne region, Caritas-Haiti reported. The most urgent needs are food, water, medicines and sleeping bags, the Catholic agency said.

Caritas also deployed its energies when floods struck Haiti — leaving some 2,000 dead — and the Dominican Republic last May. The Mapu region was hard-hit recently by Hurricane Ivan.

Tropical Storm Jeanne hit the Caribbean last week, leaving seven dead in Puerto Rico, before striking the Dominican Republic, where at least 18 died.

Meanwhile, the chairman of the U.S. bishops’ International Policy Committee praised congressional legislation to aid Haiti’s economy. It could be a «beacon of hope to the people of Haiti,» Bishop John Richard told the bill’s lead sponsor, Representative Clay Shaw of Florida, in a letter released Monday.

The Haiti Economic Recovery Opportunity Act, which would expand certain preferential trade treatment for Haiti, «represents a small but critically important step by which our country can help stimulate the economic recovery of the poorest nation in the hemisphere,» Bishop Ricard said.

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