"The communion of the Church: memory and hope for Haiti five years after the earthquake” is the title of a conference being held in the Vatican.
The event is organised by the Pontifical Council Cor Unum and the Pontifical Commission for Latin America in collaboration with the bishops of Haiti, and is a response to Pope Francis' wish to maintain close attention to a country that continues to suffer the consequences of the earthquake, and to reiterate the Church's closeness to the Haitian people during the reconstruction phase.
It will above all offer the opportunity to present the balance of aid destined for the country and to analyse the results of the implementation of the projects carried out from 2010 to the present day.
In January 2010 the island of Haiti was hit by an earthquake with the epicentre near the capital, Port-au-Prince, causing the death of 230,000 people and devastating the territory, destroying much of the infrastructure, thousands of homes, and all the hospitals on the island. According to Red Cross estimates, the disaster affected three million people.
The meeting is attended by representatives of the Holy See, the local Church in Haiti, and various episcopal conferences, workers from Catholic charitable organisations, religious congregations and various Holy See-accredited diplomatic representatives.
Speakers include Cardinal Marc Ouellet, president of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America
Cardinal Robert Sarah who, as president of Cor Unum until the end of 2014, managed the Holy Father's donations to the local Church of the island
Cardinal Chibly Langlois, bishop of Les Cayes and president of the Episcopal Conference of Haiti
Archbishop Thomas Gerald Wenski of Miami
Alberto Piatti, president of the Association of Volunteers in International Service Foundation, engaged in haritable works on the island, and
Eduardo Marques de Almeida, former representative of the Inter-American Development Bank in Haiti
Discussions include those who work in the context of reconstruction, to enable an exchange of experiences regarding the issue of international cooperation and the priorities and criteria for future action.
An intervention from Msgr. Giampietro Dal Toso, secretary of Cor Unum, considers an overview of the problems that still remain to be resolved.