Emergency Brief 1; Haiti Earthquake

Situation: A 7.0 magnitude earthquake has ravaged the island nation of Haiti. The quake occurred 10 miles southwest of the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince just before 5pm EST (Haiti is also on EST). Port-au-Prince, with a population of over 2 million, has been devastated. CRS Country Representative Karel Zelenka reports that "Port-au-Prince was covered with a plume of dust from damaged buildings. We should be prepared for many thousands of dead and injured."

The CRS offices were shaken, with some damage to the compound walls, but there were no injuries in the building. Two CRS staff members remain unaccounted for. Communication with Haiti remains very difficult.

There are also recently confirmed reports that the Archbishop of Port-au-Prince, Monsignor Joseph Serge Miot, was a victim of the quake. The Cathedral of Notre Dame in Port-au-Prince has sustained severe damage.

CRS Response:

CRS has made an initial commitment of 5 million dollars for immediate use in the relief effort. Our agency is geared up for a major emergency response to this severe disaster. CRS is mobilizing food and gearing up our emergency capacity, and deploying prepositioned emergency shelter and hygiene kits in Haiti, as well as bringing supplies in from the neighboring Dominican Republic.

From the Field:

Karel Zelenka, CRS Country Representative in Haiti: "I’ve been in earthquakes before. This was a major hit. And it was direct. Thousands must be dead."

CRS in the News:

From the Washington Post:
"People are out in the streets, crying, screaming, shouting," Karel Zelenka, director of the Catholic Relief Services office in Haiti, said Tuesday night. "They see the extent of the damage," he said, but could do little to rescue people trapped under rubble because night had fallen.

"There are a lot of collapsed buildings," Zelenka said in a telephone interview from Port-au-Prince. "This will be a major, major disaster."

He reported that poorly constructed shantytowns and other buildings had crumbled in huge clouds of dust. Near the CRS headquarters, a supermarket was "completely razed," he said, and a gasoline station and a church were reduced to rubble.
Read theWashington Post article


God of all creation, as we weep with our family in Haiti, console us.
In this time of crisis, open our eyes to look beyond the disaster
to see Christ in our brothers and sisters in Haiti, as Christ sees us.
Be with us as we stand in solidarity with those living and working in Haiti.
Be with us in our mourning and guide our efforts to feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, comfort the grieving and stand for justice.
With your mercy, sustain us at this time as we continue to work for peace and justice.

For our Brothers and Sisters in Haiti Affected by the Earthquake

Lord, hear our prayer.

For the Haitian people, that help comes to them quickly and comfort comes to those who hurt.

Lord, hear our prayer.

For the lost or buried, that they are found and reunited with their loved ones.

Lord, hear our prayers.

For the relief workers, that they have the tools they need, the courage and the strength to respond fully.

Lord, hear our prayers.

For the families in Haiti and in the United States who are waiting to hear from loved one, that good news comes to them.

Lord, hear our prayers.

For those whose who have perished, may their souls rest with you, oh Lord, where they will find eternal love.


How to Help:
Donate via phone: 1-877-HELP-CRS
Donate online: the CRS website
Write a check: Catholic Relief Services
P.O. Box 17090
Baltimore, Maryland 21203-7090
Memo portion of check: Haiti Earthquake

Information for Church Bulletins:
Catholic Relief Services (CRS), the official international humanitarian agency of the U.S. Catholic Church, is responding to victims of the massive earthquake in Haiti. To donate, please call 1-877-HELP-CRS, donate online at the CRS website or send a check to Catholic Relief Services, P.O. Box 17090, Baltimore, MD 21203-7090. In the memo portion of your check, please write: Haiti Earthquake

For more information go tothe CRS website and the CRS website in Spanish