At our Camillian communities in Jérémie and in Port au Prince our religious experienced the same fears and difficulties as the whole of the population.
We felt the ground sake and for precautionary reasons we went out of our homes. I contacted our confreres who live in Jérémie – an area near to the epicentre of the earthquake – and I leant that their situation was manageable. Father James had a sprained wrist and needed an x-ray, but the area of Jérémie had been seriously struck by the earthquake and it was impossible to move around.
Despite the difficulties, our religious in Jérémie are trying to help the people who are victims of today’s earthquake.
Many human lives have been lost and buildings and infrastructure have been seriously damaged. Many buildings inhabited by people, as well as churches, have been destroyed. Throughout the south of the country there has been a great deal of damage. Here the population already lived in acute poverty and had enormous socio-economic-political problems. Now with the catastrophic event of this earthquake, the very precarious situation of the population is becoming even more alarming.
We Camillians, in the community and in the Saint-Camille Hospital of Port au Prince (the capital city of Haiti), will be able to bring our help to the population of the south of the country but the security situation in Martissant is frightening. Groups of armed bandits established themselves in that strategic area of transit two months ago and they shoot at passing cars. The few vehicles that do travel through run the risk of being attacked and robbed.
We need help during these dramatic times: the population can no longer bear the terrible socio-political conditions. We have to respect human life and as a consequence work to contribute to restoring peace and social security in the country.
At the Saint Camille Hospital our patients, accompanied by the nursing staff, had to run and flee from the building in order to save themselves because the whole of the building was shaking in a threatening way.
Psychologically and physically, the patients in the hospital are now very afraid and for precautionary reasons have been accommodated to take into account the danger of the tremors that follow an earthquake. The situation of the country is very sad and very serious; we live with a great deal of difficulties. Our mission with the population is needed notwithstanding the difficulties and this is the moment to redouble our efforts in order to serve the people with those means that Providence entrusts to us.
This was written on the eve of the feast of Mary Assumed into Heaven: we pray that you may intercede for Haiti so that in this part of the earth men may live who are worthy of their responsibility towards their own people!