Catholic Relief Services Enters Long-Term Strategy to Help Rebuild in Haiti

July 08, 2010

The following update on Haiti is from Catholic Relief Services. Parishioners from the Archdiocese of Washington donated more than $1.3 million to support relief efforts in Haiti through special collections taken up in their parishes this winter.

Six-Month Anniversary of Earthquake Marks Major Strides

CRS has made strides in meeting desperate need since the Jan. 12 earthquake in Haiti, feeding some 900,000 people and providing food, water, sanitation, shelter materials and medical care for hundreds of thousands in Port-au-Prince and beyond.

The huge outpouring of support from Catholics and others of good faith in the United States has enabled CRS to bring life-saving aid over the last few months. “We are grateful for the generous outpouring of aid to Haiti in the first phase of operations. On July 12, we remember those who rushed to the spot like heroes to save lives, relieve pain, give food and drink, welcome, house and express their solidarity,” said Bishop Pierre Dumas, President of Caritas Haiti.

Between mid-January and June, CRS has provided food to some 900,000 people, and is continuing to supply food regularly to approximately 100,000 children in over 270 schools and 100 orphanages and child-care centers. CRS provided emergency shelter materials to more than 114,000 people, and water and sanitation services that are benefitting tens of thousands.

“While CRS continues to address humanitarian needs such as food, water and shelter, we are now embarking on a long-term and comprehensive plan of rebuilding and rehabilitation that is mapped out for at least the next five years,” says Ken Hackett, CRS President. “This long-term strategy will encompass a variety of sectors, including 8,000 new temporary structures to house as many families.”

CRS has begun fabrication of a targeted 8,000 transitional shelters – tough, wooden homes built on a strong foundation – as secure accommodation for families until they can return to permanent houses.

Transitional shelters as well as reconstruction of community infrastructure like schools and health centers are major components of CRS’ long-term strategy. Other focus areas include food and job security, health and wellbeing, protection of the vulnerable and education of children and youth.

The greatest challenge today is the same challenge Haiti faced pre-earthquake – poverty. The highest poverty levels in the Western Hemisphere, sub-standard building quality, poor infrastructure and a poor education system all remain critical challenges in Haiti. To build back better in Haiti, CRS continues to work together with Church partners, local and international agencies and the Government of Haiti.

“We have worked in Haiti for more than 50 years and we intend to remain alongside Haitians for many more years to come,” Hackett says.

Catholic Relief Services is the international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States. The agency provides assistance to people in more than 100 countries and territories based on need, regardless of race, nationality or creed. For more information, please visit or

Kim Pozniak
Catholic Relief Services
[email protected]