Baltimore Sun Report on CRS’ Haiti Response

“The key in emergency response is the distribution network,” said Jim O’Connor, the agency’s director of overseas support. “This has obviously disrupted on a massive scale any kind of humanitarian distribution network. So we have to rebuild it.”

“This is a big one,” said staff security director Patrick Johns, who has worked 35 years with the agency. “This is right up there with the tsunami. The population of Haiti is poor to begin with. Nine million people in Haiti and probably 9 million people under the poverty level. And affected by this earthquake? Virtually the entire population in Port-au-Prince.”

That includes the agency’s own employees. In addition to bringing in supplies, CRS was preparing to send a French-speaking trauma counselor to help staff, some of whom have lost family members.

“The mental needs are as important as the physical needs,” Johns said. “We have to try to see the whole picture. It’s more than just giving people a loaf of bread and a bottle of water.”

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