We are responding to the Haiti crisis through the Caritas network.
As donations continue to pour in from a generous Irish public, Trócaire and our partners have already managed to reach around 5,000 people in Haiti with emergency medical supplies such as gauze and syringes, hygiene kits and water.
The speedy response was possible because we have worked in Haiti with partner organisations for a number of years, said Trócaire Emergency Director Maurice McQuillan. "Trócaire and our partners in Caritas, the umbrella group of Catholic development agencies, have worked in Haiti for 20 years and were already in place when this disaster struck. This meant we could act very quickly to help those most in need," he added. "The number of agencies coming to Haiti now to help means that coordination of all our efforts is key. The generosity of the Irish people is incredible and Trócaire can channel 100 per cent of this money to the local groups in Haiti with whom we've worked for years. These organizations have hundreds of people already in Haiti, who know the country and know the best way to coordinate an effective response to this horrific natural disaster. This means we can help thousands more in the coming days."
The earthquake, being billed as one of the world's ten deadliest, struck on the evening of January 12. "On January 14 we were able to help people who had survived and who were in makeshift camps because they had lost their families and their homes," Mr McQuillan said. "Our partner Catholic Relief Services worked with the Catholic Medical Mission Board to deliver basic medical supplies to hospitals in the city."
Head of emergencies for Caritas International, the confederation of Catholic aid agencies worldwide, Alasdair Dutton, is in Port au Prince. "The devastation can only be described as colossal," he said. "There are buildings that have totally collapsed into heaps of rubble next to others that remain standing. Those that still have houses standing remain in camped out in the street; they live in fear of the tremors that still happening. On Saturday a large tremor was felt, an experience I never want to feel again."
Mr Dutton said: "There is no escaping the smell of the dead mixing in the air with the dust and the debris, in the Haitian humidity. There is also no escaping the blank-eyed fear that you see on all faces, as you walk amongst this ruined city, psychological trauma is etched on their faces. There is no one in this place who hasn't been touched by the misery unleashed by this earthquake."
One hundred per cent of all donations to Trócaire for the Haiti earthquake will be spent directly on the response to this disaster. You can donate to haiti here, or drop into any Trócaire centre in Dublin or Belfast.