By Oscar Andrés Cardinal Rodríguez Maradiaga, S.D.B.
As President of Caritas Internationalis, I visited Haiti in February to offer solidarity with the people and to take aid from my home country of Honduras on behalf of our supporters.
When I arrived in Port-au-Prince, I was shocked because the tragedy and devastation were even greater than what I had seen in the media.
The Apostolic Nuncio to Haiti, Archbishop Bernardito Auza; the president of Caritas Haiti, Bishop Pierre Dumas; and the director of Caritas Haiti, Fr Serge Chadic, accompanied me to the destroyed cathedral and the house where my colleague, Archbishop Serge Miot was killed. We visited Renaissance Hospital and Champ de Mars makeshift camp, where tens of thousands of people have taken refuge. We also talked with Haiti’s Bishops’ Conference.
While I am deeply moved by the suffering of the Haitian people, I am also aware that there is a sign of hope. The huge swell of support that we have seen so far for the survivors of the earthquake shows that the world is not going to forget Haitians.
As President of Caritas Internationalis, my first commitment will be to make the voice of the Haitian people heard so that there is no danger that we will forget their plight.
Caritas has been in Haiti for many years and our staff bring love, compassion and determination to their work. We have 165 member organisations worldwide and I was delighted to see the fraternity and solidarity expressed by Caritas in Haiti.
When those who can help do, the world is a more just place. This is how things should be and this is one of the aims of our work in Haiti and around the world.
Caritas is already serving over half a million people in Haiti, helping them with food, water, shelter and healthcare. We are also planning our longer-term projects. We want to help Haitians rebuild, but also to help them on the path to autonomy so that they can live with dignity.