Friday, January 15, 2010

Baltimore-based Catholic Relief Services, which is coordinating the church's relief and recovery efforts in Haiti, was able to get a jump-start on distributing aid because it already had warehouses filled with supplies in Haiti set up after the 2008 hurricanes in the region.

CRS volunteers and staff in the Dominican Republic were purchasing and assembling boxes of food, including sardines and peanut butter, to deliver to Port-au-Prince. The ultimate goal was to have enough boxes of prepared food to feed 50,000.

Karel Zelenka, CRS' country representative in Haiti, said in a report on the CRS Web site that staff arriving in Haiti will join the CRS staff sleeping outside, in tents or cars, as aftershocks continue in Port-au-Prince. CRS' Haiti headquarters building was damaged but did not collapse.

The agency has been working in Haiti for 55 years. Prior to the earthquake, more than 300 staffers were already in Haiti and more than 100 were based in Port-au-Prince.

CRS President Ken Hackett told CNN Jan. 13 said that the fact that Haiti is a predominantly Catholic country affects the agency's work there.

"It gives us a network of effective partners in the Catholic Church in their schools and their mission and their hospitals and their health centers, so that network in Port-au-Prince is what will be activated first," he said.
"CRS distributes food from Haitian warehouses, Dominican Republic" - Catholic News Service, 1/15/10.

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