Two of the leading Jesuits involved in Haitian earthquake relief efforts visited Washington last week to meet with members of non-governmental organizations, Congressional staff and State Department personnel: Fr. Kawas Francois, S.J., president of the Jesuit Interprovincial Committee for the Reconstruction of Haiti and founding member of the National Committee for Reflection and Action and Fr. Wismith Lazard, S.J., director of the Jesuit Refugee Service in Haiti.
“The situation in Haiti is very difficult now. Before the earthquake, the situation was bad. Now, the situation is worse. We have a lot of unemployment, that’s a real problem. Many children can’t go to school, because so many schools collapsed in the earthquake-affected areas,” said Fr. Kawas Francois, S.J.
The Jesuit community in Haiti organized the National Committee for Reflection and Action (Cellule de Refexion et d’Action Nationale – CRAN), composed of Jesuits and members of Haitian civil society who work together on an ongoing basis to accompany the Haitian people, their leaders, and the international community in their efforts to rebuild Haiti.
More than 80% of the population in the earthquake affected areas still live in camps. The situation is characterized by extremely high rates of unemployment and poor sanitation in the camps.
While continuing to maintain its presence along the Northeastern border, JRS Haiti is focusing its current relief efforts in the Port-au-Prince area, working in seven camps that serve the needs of more than 21,000 displaced people in and around the capital.
For more information on Jesuit Refugee Service’s work in Haiti, or how you can help, please visit: http://www.jrsusa.org