Pax Christi message to people of Haiti

Pax Christi International has expressed deep condolences and solidarity with the people of Haiti following the recent earthquake and calls for prayers and prompt support in the relief efforts. Some Pax Christi members are safe. Others are known to have died,  while still more are missing.

The severe earthquake that struck Haiti and the Dominican Republic has inflicted large-scale damage to hospitals, health facilities, places of worship and church infrastructure. A large number of casualties are feared. The major earthquake that shocked the Caribbean nation of Haiti on 12 January 2010 has become yet another in a series of natural disasters to hit this already vulnerable country, the poorest in the western hemisphere. Haiti is a nation that has already suffered from years of humanitarian crises and natural disasters, including a series of hurricanes that battered the country in 2008.

Pax Christi International has two member organisations in Haiti: Pax Christi Port-au-Prince and the Commission Episcopale Nationale Justice et Paix.

1. Pax Christi Port-au-Prince: We have little news about what happened to many of our friends and their relatives. Pax Christi USA has been in touch with friends of Pax Christi in Port-au-Prince. Wilda Mondestin, Pax Christi’s Port-au-Prince Executive Director, is alive and well and assisting in relief efforts.

We give thanks for Wilda's safety and our hearts go out to her as she works to care for others affected by the devastation. There is still no word concerning our other colleagues, but we continue to pray for their safety.

2. Commission Episcopale Nationale Justice et Paix: We mourn the death of Msgr Serge Miot, Archbishop of Port-au-Prince and President of the National Commission for Justice and Peace Haiti. His body has been found in the ruins of the archdiocese office. The cathedral did not survive the devastation. Fr Jan Hanssens, the director of the Commission, is safe and well, but his home has been destroyed as well. We pray for the safety of the membership of the Commission.

3. Claudette Werleigh: Claudette Werleigh, our Secretary General from Haiti, has been in touch with relatives who remain in the country, many of whom are safe and well but from others no news yet. The house of her family has been damaged but her husband is ok, thanks to God. She has been contacted by many journalists and press agencies over the last two days. She thanks all of our member organisations and all of you who expressed sorrow and solidarity with her and the people of Haiti.

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