Saturday, January 30, 2010

Salesians in Haiti

As of Jan. 26, the Salesians in Haiti are providing shelter to about 13,500 Haitians left homeless from the earthquake (approximately 6,500 in Carrefour-Thorland and 7,000 in Pétion-Ville). This doesn’t count what the FMAs (Salesian Sisters) are doing at their schools. Survivors are finding shelter in the limited number of facilities which remain standing, in makeshift tents, or in one of the more than 800 tents have been distributed by the Salesians. Currently, staff at the Salesian Missions headquarters in New Rochelle is working to secure an additional 2,000 six-man tents for distribution to the homeless.

In a true show and spirit of cooperation and solidarity, the Salesians in Germany and Austria are sending two 40-foot containers with 1,600 “schools in a box” kits, enough for 72,000 students. This is in preparation for makeshift schools (when deemed appropriate). Prior to the earthquake, Salesian Missions (N.R.) funded schools to these children. Every effort is being made to re-establish this as soon as possible, as well as attend to the more urgent, life-saving needs.

On Jan. 27 the Sandals Foundation has pledged $35,000 to Salesian Missions for its Haiti Relief Efforts (details to come). After consultation with the SDBs of Haiti, the Emergency Response Team expects to carry out an assessment and identification of needs in the areas of water and sanitation infrastructure that can be turned into “shelf projects” for financing.

Fr. Joseph Simon, SDB, is receiving direct assistance in the form of a 40-kw generator for the street children program in Pétion-Ville.
Transition from emergency relief to reconstruction is expected to begin shortly after the flow of food assistance begins to normalize, which in turn is expected to happen a week or so after 40-foot containers of food assistance and other needed relief emergency items donated by Cross International begin to arrive in Santo Domingo for repacking and transport to Port-au-Prince. In the meantime, a continued food assistance bridge is in full swing with foodstuffs being purchased in the Dominican Republic.

Associazione Missioni Don Bosco from Turin has offered to defray the cost of buying and delivering some 2,000 urgently needed tents for Port-au-Prince. Salesian Missions (N.R.) is trying to find them; it’s a large number to find in stock.

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