Newspaper of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford Connecticut

Haiti-doc-007WEST HARTFORD – Although the Haitian people are grateful for all that has been accomplished since the devastating earthquake shook Haiti 16 months ago, they need the generous aid and deep commitment to continue.

In a program hosted by Diocese of Norwich Outreach to Haiti and St. Peter Claver Church, Jude Marie Banatte, a Haitian doctor who has been with Catholic Relief Services for 11 years, spoke about CRS activities following the earthquake and about the progress of longterm reconstruction and recovery.

"Things are not moving fast in Haiti, said Dr. Banatte. "But they are moving fast enough, when we consider the challenges and the underlying conditions [that existed] before the disaster."

Dr. Banatte, who manages large CRS medical and health projects on Haiti’s southwestern coast, presented statistics to provide a context for considering the magnitude of achievements and to enhance understanding of why recovery in Haiti will require a longterm effort. He also contrasted circumstances surrounding the earthquake in Haiti and subsequent quakes in Chile and Japan, where recovery seems to be moving at a faster pace.

Before the earthquake, the literacy rate in Haiti was just 52 percent, and half the population lived on less than $1 a day. The country had the highest infant mortality rate in the region, and there were only two doctors for every 10,000 inhabitants, he said.

Agricultural productivity was so low it only accounted for 28 percent of gross domestic product. Haiti only produced 49 percent of the food it needs to feed itself; forcing the country to rely on imports.

"Farming doesn’t provide for the needs of the country," said Dr. Bannatte. "[Yet] we do not have hunger in Haiti; we do not have malnutrition in Haiti. It’s a major accomplishment."

That’s because CRS has distributed 25 million rations since the quake, he said, to help meet the nutritional needs of the Haitian people.

But the real accomplishment, he said, has been in empowering Haitians to increase selfsufficiency so they may provide for their own nutritional needs.

Dr. Banatte called the fact that no epidemics have started in the camps "another major accomplishment." More than 1.2 million homeless people were sheltered in open areas, creating a huge potential for disease, he said.

Dr. Banatte said the efforts of CRS in Haiti have been in three phases: relief, recovery and reconstruction. Most efforts so far have been on relief and recovery.

In all of its efforts, CRS seeks to help Haitians to become selfreliant and take greater roles.

"We have transitioned into activities that enable people to make their own living, enabling them to provide for their families and develop the economy," he said. CRS is also working with farmers to improve agricultural production.

Eleven thousand people have been employed with pay for clearing rubble, cleaning out drainage canals and building transitional shelters. Others have helped clear debris, making way for 8,000 transitional shelters that have been built. More than 1,300 water and sanitation units have also been installed.

Despite these results, people have the impression that not too much has been done in Haiti, said Dr. Banatte.

"I think that is very true if you are looking at it from the [perspective] of reconstruction; even the rubble hasn’t been removed yet," he said.

"But if you look at it in terms of meeting food, water, and sanitation needs of nearly three million people in a highly vulnerable group, the efforts have been very successful."

In contrasting circumstances in Haiti with the earthquakes in Chile and Japan, Dr. Banatte noted that the earthquake in Haiti had a magnitude of 7.2 and lasted 35 seconds.

The subsequent earthquakes in Chile and Japan were significantly stronger and lasted longer.

People ask why 230,000 died from the quake in Haiti, when in Japan, less than 10 percent of that number [including victims of the earthquake and tsunami] were killed, he said. While all of the earthquakes have been tragic and in Japan the nuclear crisis continues, the disaster in Haiti was exacerbated by many factors.

The people in Haiti were not prepared. The nation’s last earthquake was 200 years ago. Because the country is prone to hurricanes; municipal buildings were made to withstand wind and floods, but not to withstand an earthquake.

Video images of the earthquake in Japan showed people running from buildings. When the earth started to shake in Haiti, people thought something was happening in the streets and rushed into buildings to protect themselves, said Dr. Banatte.

The distance from the earthquake epicenters to major population centers was another factor.

Most of those who died in Haiti were in Port-au-Prince, a city built for 500,000 that was inhabited by three million people, which was near the epicenter. In Chile and Japan, the earthquake epicenters were 60 to 80 miles from major population centers.

Port-au-Prince, the capital city center, was destroyed. "It collapsed the capacity of the leaders – the decisionmaking people – to react because they themselves were victims," he said.

Dr. Banatte said he hoped his presentation encouraged people to continue to help Haiti in the future.

He encouraged people to "use their constituency, their voting power, to talk with Congresspeople [entreating them to] not cut the budget on the backs of the most vulnerable."

 

Events Calendar

September 2014
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
1
12:00 AM
Archbishop O'Brien Library , Bloomfield, United States
The Archbishop O’Brien Library will participate in a community-based project with Life Choice Donor Services, a non-profit organ procurement organization, during September, to raise awareness for organ [...]
Date :  September 01, 2014
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
08:15 PM
Quinnipiac University, Hamden CT, Hamden, United States
 An outdoor vigil and prayer service in support of persecuted Christian churches in the Middle East will take place at 8:15 p.m. Sept. 17 on the academic quadrangle [...]
10:00 AM
Holy Family Retreat Center, West Hartford, West Hartford, United States
Holy Family Retreat Center in West Hartfrod is offering a retreat day for parish secretaries, with [...]
Date :  September 17, 2014
18
19
06:00 PM
St. Ann Parish, Avon, Avon, United States
The Social Justice Committee of St. Ann’s Parish in Avon will have its popular annual clothing sale from 6-9 p.m. Sept. 19 and from 8:30 [...]
Date :  September 19, 2014
20
08:30 AM
St. Ann Parish, Avon, Avon, United States
The Social Justice Committee of St. Ann’s Parish in Avon will have its popular annual clothing sale from 6-9 p.m. Sept. 19 and from 8:30 [...]
10:00 AM
St. Paul Catholic High School, Bristol, Bristol, United States
St. Paul Catholic High School open houses at 10 and 11:30 a.m. Sept. 20,  7 p.m. Oct. 8 and at 10 and [...]
Date :  September 20, 2014
21
11:00 AM
Archdiocesan Center at St. Thomas Seminary, Bloomfield, United States
Applications are being accepted for the 2014 Catholic Youth Spectacular (CYS), set for Sept. 21 on the [...]
Date :  September 21, 2014
22
12:00 AM
The Archdiocese of Hartford is participating again in the national Family Day program launched by [...]
Date :  September 22, 2014
23
11:00 AM
Wampanoag Country Club, West Hartford, West Hartford, United States
HARTFORD – The 22nd annual Archbishop John F. Whealon Memorial Golf Tournament will take place Sept. 23 [...]
Date :  September 23, 2014
24
06:00 PM
Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, Hamden , Hamden, United States
Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish in Hamden will have its monthly Pro-Life Holy Hour Novena from 6-7 p.m. September 24.The Holy Hour will include exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, pro-life rosary, [...]
12:00 AM
Hartford GYN Center, Hartford, United States
The Pro-Life Ministry of the Archdiocese of Hartford will participate in the international 40 Days for Life campaign from Sept. 24 through Nov. 2. The success of the campaign is evident in [...]
Date :  September 24, 2014
25
26
06:00 PM
Holy Family Retreat Center, West Hartford, West Hartford, United States
"Know Greater Joy" is the theme of a Men's Weekend Retreat being offered Sept. 26-28 at Holy Family [...]
12:00 AM
Lourdes in Litchfield , Litchfield, United States
A Beginning Experience Weekend will be conducted Sept. 26-28 for divorced, separated and widowed men and [...]
Date :  September 26, 2014
27
09:30 AM
Holy Angels Parish Center, South Meriden, Meriden, United States
MERIDEN – The Meriden-Wallingford Council of Catholic Women will sponsor a catered breakfast at 9:30 a.m. Sept. 27 at Holy Angels Parish Center in South Meriden. Guest speaker Deacon Thomas J. Davis [...]
12:00 AM
Lourdes in Litchfield , Litchfield, United States
A Beginning Experience Weekend will be conducted Sept. 26-28 for divorced, separated and widowed men and [...]
Date :  September 27, 2014
28
01:00 PM
Polish-American Club, West Haven, United States
NEW HAVEN – St. Stanislaus Parish will have its annual picnic/harvest festival from 1-8 p.m. Sept. 28, rain or shine, at the Polish-American Club at 194 W. Spring St., West Haven. Polish and [...]
12:00 AM
Lourdes in Litchfield , Litchfield, United States
A Beginning Experience Weekend will be conducted Sept. 26-28 for divorced, separated and widowed men and [...]
Date :  September 28, 2014
29
07:00 PM
Caritas Christi Center, Hamden, Hamden, United States
Caritas Christi Center will offer a New Life Seminar for the separated and divorcd from 7-9 p.m. on nine [...]
Date :  September 29, 2014
30

Login Form

Copyright © 2014 The Catholic Transcript Online