Holy See Affirms Commitment to Rebuild Haiti

Stresses Contribution of Faith-Based Groups

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NEW YORK, APRIL 1, 2010 (Zenit.org).- At an international donor’s conference about the reconstruction plans for Haiti, the Holy See’s delegation affirmed its commitment toward this end.

The conference, which took place Wednesday at the United Nations in New York, gathered representatives of several countries and aid organizations to discuss the topic of Haiti’s reconstruction, over two months after the Jan. 12 earthquake destroyed Port-au-Prince.

The statement from the Holy See’s delegation affirmed its «prayerful sympathy for the families of the victims of the tragic earthquake.»

«The Catholic Church and the Holy See, which is her central government, immediately joined the extraordinary emergency response to the Haiti earthquake, helping in the reconstruction and rehabilitation of survivors,» it noted.

For example, the Holy See stated, «in the first month after the earthquake, Caritas Internationalis, which is the main charitable agency of the Catholic Church, collected $200 million from Catholics in 40 countries and in the first month alone fed over 50,000 people, provided shelter kits to 43,000 people and gave medical treatment to more than 15,000 people.»

Additionally, it continued, «several independent international Catholic agencies, such as Kirche in Not, as well as many religious congregations, sent donations ranging from $100,000 to $2 million.»

Some 110 American dioceses «sent nearly $30 million to a special Haiti Relief Collection Fund and the United States Catholic Relief Services has raised over $90 million dollars for relief efforts including distributing over 9 million daily rations,» the statement reported.

It added that «following the appeals of Pope Benedict XVI, Catholics from the developed world as well as those from the developing world made voluntary corporate and private donations to the National and International Red Cross and to governments, thus contributing a substantial portion of the $3 billion fund already collected by or pledged.»


The delegation affirmed that «the Catholic aid network is committed to reconstruction projects for the next five years in Haiti that will provide homes, health care, livelihoods and education.»

It added that «the Holy See will keep appealing for contributions for Haiti’s official and private reconstruction programs as well as for the full and fair insertion of Haiti into the world economic system.»

The delegation asserted, «The contribution of faith-based organizations in Haiti and local NGOs has been significant and will continue long after many international organizations and NGOs leave the country.»

«Thus,» it continued, «these organizations have a fundamental role to play in reaching out to the population in a way that takes into account its conditions and respects its customs and traditions.»

The statement concluded, «It is therefore important that these faith-based organizations and local NGOs not be ignored in creating a long-term plan for rebuilding lives and the country.»

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