Haiti quake anniversary an ‘opportunity for thanksgiving’

Earthquake survivors living in a transitional shelter in St. Matthieu, Haiti. Photo: Simon Chambers (2011)
Earthquake survivors living in a transitional shelter in St. Matthieu, Haiti. Photo: Simon Chambers (2011)
Published January 9, 2015

Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori said on Thursday that while much work remains to be done five years after the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti on Jan. 12, 2010, there is also much that can be celebrated.

The anniversary “brings abundant opportunity for thanksgiving,” said Jefferts Schori in a statement.

She noted that primary and secondary schools are now serving “more children than before,” and drew attention to the nursing school in Léogâne (part of the Episcopal University of Haiti), which is “graduating growing numbers or nurses” and St. Vincent’s school for handicapped children, which is “on the cusp of a major rebuilding effort.”

The statement, released in English, Spanish and French, also noted the role The Episcopal Church has played in this “renaissance.”

“The bishops, clergy, and lay leaders continue to provide much-needed direction within Haitian society,” said Jefferts Schori, “In every part of Haiti, The Episcopal Church is healing, teaching, instilling hope, and pointing the way toward the kingdom of God.”

Jefferts Schori noted, however, that the rebuilding of Holy Trinity Cathedral in Port-au-Prince has not been completed. The historic cathedral is being rebuilt in three stages and architects have estimated the cost as between $21 million to $25 million.

Following the earthquake, which devastated Haiti’s infrastructure, killed an estimated 300,000 people and left as many as 1.3 million displaced, the island republic has faced many challenges, including an outbreak of cholera.

The presiding bishop called for continued support for Haiti even as she expressed confidence that “Haiti can and should emerge from its status as a least developed nation in the hemisphere, if the world will keep its pledge and stay the course.”

Established in 1861, the Episcopal diocese of Haiti, which has 83,700 members and over 100 parishes, is the largest diocese in The Episcopal Church.


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