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Friday, October 21, 2016
CAFOD pledges aid for hurricane-hit Haiti
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 CAFOD has pledged an immediate donation of £50,000 to help some of the hundreds of thousands of people in Haiti who have been hit by four hurricanes and tropical storms in less than three weeks.

Tropical Storm Fay was quickly followed by Hurricanes Gustav, Hanna and Ike which swept across the country leaving more than 500 dead.

A total of 600,000 people are estimated to have been affected and nearly 70,000 are now living in temporary shelters as torrential rains continue to lash the country.

Some 500 people are trapped in the Bishop of Gonaives' house in the department of Artibonite, in northern and central Haiti.

Speaking from his home, Bishop Yves Marie Péan said: "We are accommodating more than 500 people.

"I am suffering with these victims while trying my best to provide them with assistance during these times of bad weather which has affected all of the Artibonite region.

"For the present moment we have an urgent need for drinking water, food, clothes, beds, batteries, blankets, towels, chlorine, mosquito nets, medicines, etc.

"Many more people may die if we can't get them the immediate support they require."

Much of Haiti's most fertile agricultural land is in the low-lying Artibonite region which traditionally produces most of Haiti's rice crop. Acute food shortages and price rises provoked hunger riots across Haiti in April 2008.

Clare Dixon, CAFOD's Head of Latin America and the Caribbean, said: "While much of the media attention is focussed on Gonaives, many more remote areas of the country are also badly affected and hundreds of thousands of people need help.

"Access to affected areas is difficult because of the mountainous terrain and poor roads and communications. The logistical challenges in getting relief supplies through to people are enormous.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the Haitian people at this difficult time."

CAFOD is working in partnership with Caritas Haiti and Caritas USA (CRS) to provide assistance to people affected by the storms.

Haiti is the poorest country in the western hemisphere with unemployment at 70%. CAFOD has worked in Haiti since 1970. The Caribbean hurricane season is less than half-way through and more devastating storms are predicted.

Haiti faces increasing food insecurity and has been unable to rebuild its agricultural capacity which was severely damaged by tropical storms in late 2007.

After Mass in the Vatican yesterday, Pope Benedict said a special prayer for the people of Haiti "who have been so sorely tried over recent days with the passage of three separate hurricanes. I pray for the victims, who are unfortunately numerous, and for the homeless. I remain close to the entire nation and hope it will soon receive the aid it needs".

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Tags: CAFOD, Hanna, Hurricanes Gustav, Tropical Storm Fay

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