Earthquake Devastates Haiti

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BALTIMORE, MD, January 13, 2010– The U.S. Geological Survey reports that a magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck Haiti 10 miles southwest of the capital of Port au Prince at 4:53 p.m. Eastern, Tuesday, Jan. 12. Catholic Relief Services is readying food and other aid to help families affected by a powerful earthquake that struck Haiti on January 12. CRS has committed an initial $5 million (US) to help survivors of the devastating quake.

haiti devastated by earthquake, Archbishop killed

“This is a massive disaster,” says CRS’ Country Representative in Haiti, Karel Zelenka. “We should be prepared for thousands and thousands of dead and injured.” In a brief call on Tuesday night before phones went down, Zelenka described clouds of smoke surrounding Port-au-Prince and said, “I’ve experienced earthquakes before, but I never felt anything like this. This is a major hit. And it was direct.”

The Italian daily La Repubblica reported the death of Archbishiop Serge Miot, Archbishop of the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince at 4:44 a.m. (CDT). According to the brief report, his body was found in the rubble of the archbishop's office. They also reported that the Vicar General, Msgr. Benoit, was still missing.

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Catholic Relief Services
P.O. Box 17090
Baltimore, Maryland 21203-7090
(On the memo portion of check, write: Haiti Earthquake)

CRS has pre-positioned food, water storage containers, bedding and other supplies in warehouses in Haiti and nearby countries. “We have to find out if the warehouses in Haiti are damaged,” says Ken Polsky, Regional Representative for CRS Latin America. “We will also move supplies there from the Dominican Republic and Miami.”

“This is going to be devastating,” says Bill Canny, Director of Emergency Operations for CRS. “We know it’s chaos in Port-au-Prince and help is needed immediately.”

“We’re moving additional emergency staff in as quickly as possible,” continues Canny, who is leaving for Haiti today [January 13].

CRS has worked in Haiti, the poorest country in the Western hemisphere, for over 50 years. The country is still rebuilding from the 2008 hurricanes that left the city of Gonaives buried in 3.2 million cubic yards of mud.

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