The Telegraph reports that the Haiti earthquake death toll could run into hundreds of thousands...
Pope Benedict XVI issued an urgent appeal for help for the people of Haiti at the conclusion of his regular weekly public audience on Wednesday, January 13. He called attention to the “tragic situation” created by a major earthquake that has caused “serious loss of human life, large numbers of homeless and missing people, and vast material damage.”
Promising his prayers for the victims and their families, the Pope added: “I appeal to the generosity of all people so that these our brothers and sisters who are experiencing a moment of need and suffering may not lack our concrete solidarity and the effective support of the international community.” He said that Catholic charities would respond as quickly and generously as possible.
Haiti’s capital, Port au Prince, was devastated by the earthquake, which measured 7.0 on the Richter scale. Thousands of people are feared dead, hundreds of buildings destroyed, and as many as 3 million people in need of emergency relief. Haiti is the most impoverished country in the Western hemisphere, and the slum outside Port au Prince, Citi Soleil, is home to tens of thousands of people already living in dire poverty.
The Telegraph confirms that the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Port-au-Prince, Archbishop Joseph Serge Miot was killed in the earthquake, Archbisop Bernadito Auza, the apostolic envoy to Haiti, said: "The cathedral, the archbishop's office, all the big churches, the seminaries have been reduced to rubble."
The Cathedral at Port au Prince
This is, without doubt, an absolutely horrendous event which could be worse in terms of sheer numbers of fatalities than even the Boxing Day Tsunami of 2003. Click here for an article on how the earthquake has revealed Haiti's horrific poverty and the work of the Catholic Church in Haiti in feeding the hungry. Those who feed the hungry and clothe the naked will never be needed so much as now. May all who have perished rest in peace. Pray for Haiti and if you can donate you can do so here.