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Archbishop of Port-au-Prince Among Dead in Horrific Haiti Earthquake

By  Susan Brinkmann, OCDS Staff Journalist The Apostolic Nuncio of Haiti has announced the death of Monsignor Joseph Serge Miot, Archbishop of Port-au-Prince, along with what could be up to 100,000 people in the devastating 7.2 earthquake that struck the poor island nation on Tuesday. “Port-au-Prince is completely devastated,” Archbishop Bernardito Auzo, Apostolic Nuncio of Haiti told Agenzia Fides. “The Cathedral, the Archbishop's Residence, all the great churches, all the seminaries are reduced to rubble. The pastor of the Cathedral, who survived the earthquake, told me that the Archbishop of Port-au-Prince perished under the rubble, along with hundreds of seminarians and priests who are under the rubble." The Archbishop went on to say that no one escaped the destruction. Even the president of Haiti, Rene Preval, survived the quake only because he was out with the family when the late-afternoon quake struck and nearly destroyed the National Palace. The president’s private home was destroyed along with all of the country’s ministerial buildings. “Parliament, with its senators; schools with children; supermarkets have all been reduced to nothing. The headquarters of MINUSTAH (the UN headquarters for Aid in Haiti) is reduced to a heap of concrete and hundreds of people are trapped, including the Head of Delegation, Hedi Annabi, I have been told by people that live in front of the headquarters.” He went on to express amazement that the nunciature building withstood the quake. “So many things are broken, including the Tabernacle, but we are more fortunate than others. Many family members of the staff were killed, their homes destroyed. Everyone is calling for help. We will have problems of water and food before long. We cannot enter or stay inside the house much, as the earth continues to shake, so we are camped in the garden." After touring the area the day after the quake, he told Fides that “everywhere you can hear cries from under the rubble.” The quake, the most powerful to hit the region in 200 years, was centred about ten miles west of the Haitian capital, a city of two million people, many of them living in flimsy shanty slums. It struck at 4.53pm on Jan. 12 and was followed by as many as 30 aftershocks, one of them as strong as 5.9 on the Richter scale, a sizeable earthquake in its own right. The centre was also relatively shallow, less than ten miles below ground, raising the risk of damage. Meanwhile, the world is scrambling to get emergency aid into the country where as many as nine million people have been displaced, all of whom are in desperate need of food, water, medicine and safe housing. In Washington, President Obama vowed 'unwavering support' to help Haiti recover. Gordon Brown confirmed Britain was sending help and said he was 'deeply saddened and worried' by the scale of the earthquake.' Catholic Relief Services immediately committed $5 million in aid and already has food and relief supplies pre-positioned in Haiti. Additional supplies such as plastic sheeting, hygiene kits, mosquito nets, and water purification tablets are being loaded in the Dominican Republic for distribution in Haiti. Donations are desperately needed. Visit www.crs.org for more information. © All Rights Reserved, Living His Life Abundantly®/Women of Grace®  http://www.womenofgrace.com

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