Chesterton said, “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult; and left untried.”


Photo © Daily Telegraph

A 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck Haiti in the late evening of 12th January, with reports giving many thousands dead, and leaving millions of people homeless, in this, the poorest country of the Western hemisphere. The Archbishop of Port-au-Prince, Msgr. Joseph Serge Miot, is among the dead, found beneath the rubble of his collapsed residence. Thousands of lost children wander through the grey dust covering the area where as yet an unknown number of buildings and homes have been destroyed. There is major damage to the infrastructure, roads and the communication system, and the authorities are struggling to cope.

Top priority: basic medical care, clean drinking water 
Malteser International is preparing the deployment of an expert medical team from Germany and France to support local Malteser teams on the ground. “Our colleagues in Haiti are fully aware that basic medical care and the provision of clean drinking water are matters of top priority now,” Ingo Radtke, Secretary General of Malteser International, explains. The emergency relief of Malteser International is coordinated within the worldwide international network of the Order of Malta.

For 15 years the Order of Malta, through its Associations in the United States, has been supporting a hospital (Hôpital Sacré Coeur, Milot) in the north of Haiti, the poorest country in the Western hemisphere. The 73-bed hospital is the only one in the region. In 2008, Hôpital Sacré Coeur treated 56,000 outpatients, with over 4,100 hospital admissions and 1,262 newborn deliveries. There is no other pharmacy or laboratory in the area, so last year the hospital filled 136,000 prescriptions and completed over 77,000 lab tests. It provided almost 2,000 patient visits through the Mobile Clinic project.

The first members of the emergency team arriving in Haiti today, 
with the Order of Malta's Ambassador, Hans Rothe

The Archbishop of Westminster has asked all people of the Diocese to say the following prayer this coming Sunday, and during this time of tragedy.
We pray for the people of Haiti, struggling with the devastating effects of the recent earthquake: that despite the destruction around them they may not lose hope and may find the strength to rebuild their lives. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.