Caritas: Let Haitian People Help Rebuild

Calls for Protection of Women and Children

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PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, MARCH 30, 2010 (Zenit.org).- In anticipation of an international donors' conference at the United Nations in New York, Caritas is requesting that the Haitians be allowed to participate in their country's reconstruction.



Representatives of several countries and aid organizations will gather Wednesday to discuss the topic of Haiti's reconstruction, over two months after the Jan. 12 earthquake destroyed Port-au-Prince.

In a press release today, Caritas called for a "reconstruction agenda based on the participation of Haitian civil society" and the involvement of the people in the plans.

The president of Caritas Haiti, Bishop Pierre Dumas, said: "All the aspects of health, environment, education, job creation and the development of the local production need to be taken into account.

"A 'revive package' needs to be created."

The agency is requesting "quick effective solutions to the human suffering being experienced today."

"Makeshifts camps need improvements in shelter, sanitation, and law and order," it asserted. "There must be support for outlying areas to encourage people to find more suitable places to live."

"Informed consent is key," the statement added.

Nationwide renewal

Caritas noted that the reconstruction plans should be developed to "renew the whole country."

"Chronic food insecurity must be addressed by investing in economic growth, a green energy policy, livelihoods, small scale farming, and in combating environmental degradation and deforestation," it pointed out.

The agency underlined the protection of the rights of women and children as "a priority in the fragile post-disaster environment."

It added, "Their advancement and protection must be at the center of reconstruction plans."

To date, Caritas has distributed some $12 million of donations to aid the people.

This money has been used to give health care, including hospital care and kits, to 1.16 million people. Some 1.55 million people have received hot meals and regular food supplies.

Shelter kits and tents were distributed to 900,000 quake survivors, and clean water or hygiene kits were given to 200,000 Haitians.

The agency also gave specific support to 13,000 of the more vulnerable Haitians, including children, the elderly and disabled.