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Boholano Papal envoy to Haiti gives first-hand account of quake destruction

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By Kit Bagaipo
Inquirer News Service
The Bohol Chronicle

The Filipino apostolic nuncio to Haiti has called relatives in Bohol to inform them he is safe even as hundreds of Filipinos still has to be accounted after a devastating quake hit the country Wednesday.

In an interview with a local radio station here, Mrs. Magdalena Auza, mother of Archbishop Bernardito Auza said they were first informed regarding the condition of the Papal Nuncio in Haiti Wednesday night after Archbishop Edward Joseph Adams, Papal envoy in the Philippines, called them personally.

The 51-year old Boholano prelate representing the Vatican in Haiti also got in touch with relatives Thursday morning.

Speaking with the Vatican's Fides news agency, Archbishop Auza described the devastation in the streets of the capital Port-au-Prince.  He reported on what he had observed of the situation of religious and government officials in the area and described widespread destruction.

Archbishop Auza stated his observations of the situation in the capital to Fides, saying, "Port-au-Prince is totally devastated.  The cathedral, the archbishop's office, all of the big churches, all of the seminaries have been reduced to rubble."

The nuncio said that the resident priest at that cathedral had informed him of the likely death of Archbishop Joseph Serge Miot as he was buried under rubble along with hundreds of priests and seminarians. Other news reports confirmed that the archbishop did pass away in the earthquake.

Auza reported that many government buildings had been razed.  All of the Ministry buildings but one were on the ground, as were the Presidential Palace and the schools.  

"Parliament with the Senators, the schools with the children, the supermarkets were reduced to nothing," the nuncio stated.

The nuncio had made his way across the city to see the Haitian President and "express his condolences and solidarity" and found that, because they had been outdoors, he and his family had been saved although their home had crumbled.

People who live in front of the collapsed U.N. headquarters had reported to Auza that the head of that mission, Hedi Annabi, was trapped inside with hundreds of others.

The nuncio said that he had returned to his residence later in the morning to find "Priests and Sisters in the street, no longer with homes. The Rector of the seminary saved himself, as did the Dean of studies, but the seminarians are under the rubble.  You hear yells everywhere from underneath the rubble."  

"The CIFOR (according to Fides, an institute of study for religious men and women) collapsed with students inside that were participating in a conference.  The office of the nuncio resisted (the earthquake), there was no one injured, but all of us are in shock!" he said.

"So many things were broken, including the tabernacle, but we are more fortunate than others.  Many relatives of the personnel are dead, their houses destroyed.  Everyone is asking for help.  We will have a problem with water and food before long.  We cannot go inside and stay there for very long because the ground continues to shake, so we're camping out in the yard."




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This is a heart-wrenching account of the disaster. Since we are within the ring of fire, and are thus susceptible to tremors due to tectonic slips and have active volcanoes to boot, we should take precautions for a calamity of this magnitude.  

Live out of your imagination, not your history.

The minute I heard of this great magnitude of an earthquake I was devastated. A little more so after hearing that the archbishop of Port-au-Prince was killed. It was very good to hear that Archbishop Auza was not harmed. Ate Ging (grazie7y) and I know his family and were very relieved when he emailed his brother to say that he was safe. Please pray for everyone there who has lost their lives and for the hundreds of thousands of people who are displaced. Also pray for the families of the seminarians who were not able to continue their spiritual and religious journey due to this tragedy. I hope they find shelter amongst this troubling and very unfortunate time.

Komt tie dan hè.... that is the Darkraverstyyyleeee!

The biggest earthquake I have experienced was December 1999 in a Manila it registered in the field box (Richter Scale) at 7.1 and it was during the wee hours of the morning.

The death toll was somewhere around 3 from Luzon with several hundred aftershocks reported through-out the day.

Haiti is a very poor country lets hope they can recover with the generous help of others who care.




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God  bless  everyone  who  were  saved  and   those  who  were  not  fortunate  enough  to  survive. It's  very  sad  but  for  all  of  us  who  can  help  , please  do  so . A  little  amount  can  help  in  any  way. Call  or  log  on at  the  Red Cross website   and   please  do  something  to  help.

You  can  even  text  on your  cell  phones  and  you  can  donate  $10 bucks  and  just  be  added  to  your  phone  bill.

Text HAITI to 90999. Your  donation  goes  directly  to  the  RED CROSS.

"Don't  frown even if  you're  sad  because  you  don't  know  who  is  falling  in  love  with  your  SMILE."


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