Haiti: What can we do?

Author: John Nagy ’00M.A.


Reports filtered back to campus in January and February of alumni who made financial and professional sacrifices to join the relief effort in Haiti after the January 12 earthquake.

In addition to the InterVol-ND teams, physicians volunteered under the auspices of numerous nongovernmental organizations in Port-au-Prince and other towns. William Devir ’73 led a group of federal disaster responders as part of a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services effort that treated nearly 30,000 patients in the first month.

As vice president of overseas operations for Catholic Relief Services (CRS), Annemarie Reilly ’88 coordinated the $95 million outreach of the U.S. Catholic Church as underwritten by the donations and volunteer hours flooding in from thousands of parishes — and many ND alumni clubs — around the country.

Reilly says CRS, which has served more than 50 years in Haiti, views the recovery as a 5-to-10-year project. CRS encourages all people to help Haiti through prayer, education and action. As the international aid arm of the U.S. bishops, CRS is developing policy positions regarding federal aid, refugees and related concerns.

The University is working to strengthen the Notre Dame Haiti Program’s determined fight against lymphatic filariasis (LF) and to rebuild Holy Cross ministries damaged by the quake. “What can people do?” asks Haiti Program director Father Tom Streit, CSC. “Well, I would say, what are your skills? What is your passion? If you’re patient and flexible, you’ll find a way to help because the list of needs is endless.”

Learn more about the Haiti Program and LF at haiti.nd.edu. Eyewitness accounts and information about the recovery effort are available at haitidisaster.nd.edu and Notre Dame Magazine’s website. To make a contribution to Notre Dame initiatives, call 574-631-9385 or visit supporting.nd.edu/haiti

Photo of Haitian girls with water jug by J.B. Forbes/St. Louis Post-Dispatch.