Don't forget Haiti's reconstruction, says local Episcopal bishop

By staff writers
March 16, 2010

Bishop Jean Zaché Duracin of the Episcopal Diocese of Haiti has written to the wider church asking people to go on remembering and supporting the country as it seeks "rebirth".

He said that the magnitude seven earthquake which struck the country on 12 January 2010 "was our baptism" (an image of going into the waters of death) and "now is our new creation" - referring to recovery and reconstruction.

Duracin wrote his letter to Anglicans in North America and elsewhere last week. Other church, political and civic leaders have been saying that the legacy of poverty and injustice in the country needs to be faced as the post-quake challenge continues.

Bishop Duracin asked for Episcopalians' patience as the diocese develops what he called a master-plan to replace the physical structures of the diocese, which were devastated by the earthquake.

The goal of that rebuilding will be to "continue to serve Haitian people with the same love, the same care, and the same support that we have always shown," he declared.

Most of the diocese's churches and schools were destroyed or heavily damaged. The convent of the Sisters of St Margaret, adjacent to the cathedral, was also destroyed.

The lost schools include the Holy Trinity complex of primary, music and trade schools next to the demolished diocesan cathedral, the university and the seminary, all in Port-au-Prince.

A portion of the St Vincent School for Handicapped Children, also in the Haitian capital, collapsed. Students and possibly staff were killed at some of the schools.

The diocese, known locally as Eglise Episcopale d'Haiti, is caring for about 25,000 to 30,000 Haitians in roughly 60 settlements around the country.

The earthquake left an estimated 230,000 people dead and many towns in ruins; countless people have left the capital for the countryside.

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