A 7.0-magintude quake hit south of the Haitian capita Port-au-Prince yesterday causing massive damage with many dead.
There has yet been any contact with Caritas Haiti. The Cathedral in Port-au-Prince is badly damaged.
Catholic Relief Services (a Caritas member in the USA) has been in communication with its staff in Haiti. Their office is still standing and staff present at the time of the quake are safe. CRS staff described the quake as "a major hit...a direct hit"
Caritas Internationalis Humanitarian Director Alistair Dutton is leading the team. He said, "There is a strong Caritas presence in Haiti. We already know that Caritas staff will be providing support to survivors of the earthquake, such as food, shelter and comfort through churches and parish networks.
"A priority for Caritas will be to assess the damage and our local capacity to provide aid to survivors of the quake. Caritas runs over 200 hospitals and medical centres in Haiti. It is experienced and prepared to respond to humanitarian disasters there as a result of the frequent hurricanes.
"Communications with our staff of the ground is difficult, but we are piecing together a picture of desperate need. Haiti is the poorest country in the western hemisphere. Conflict, recent natural disasters, and poverty has left Haitians with a weak infrastructure. Working in that environment will be difficult."
For more information, please contact Patrick Nicholson at 0039 3343590700 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Caritas Internationalis Communications Officer Michelle Hough is part of the team travelling to Haiti. She will be in country Friday. She speaks English, French, and Italian.