AMERICA / HAITI - Covid 19, a Redemptorist: "Many believe that the disease does not exist in the country and the diaspora no longer sends money"

Thursday, 30 April 2020 hunger   coronavirus   economy   missionaries   human rights  


Port au Prince (Agenzia Fides) - "It should be said that the predictions of experts on Haiti, regarding this pandemic, can come true in all their brutality since the country has weak points that seem to condemn it. We trust in the Virgin Mary who protects us. Aware of all this, we, Redemptorist missionaries continue to respect the same protocols issued by the authorities, for this reason we have closed our parish schools. Although the Ministry of Education runs a training program online and through state television, this program is not available for everyone, for various reasons: the first is the lack of electricity in the houses and the lack of Internet in many families. As for the parishes, we celebrate the liturgies behind closed doors or with a dozen parishioners and we broadcast them on social networks and when possible we share what little we have with the poorest and most humble people" : this is the testimony of Father Renold Antoine, Redemptorist Missionary who has been working in Haiti for many years.
"More than a month ago - the missionary notes - the first positive cases of the coronavirus in the country were registered. In a month, according to the newsletters of the Ministry of Public Health and of the population, there are currently 76 confirmed cases, 8 people healed and 6 deaths. Analyzing these figures, it can be understood that the virus has so far spread slowly in the country. However, according to experts from the scientific commission that collaborates with the country's authorities, in particular Dr. Jacques Boncy, there will come a time in which cases of the infection will increase significantly".
The missionaries say they are worried about the reaction of the population because many people do not believe that the disease exists in the country, therefore they do not comply with the protection standards: "We are sorry to note that the behavior has not really changed. Traders demonstrated on the streets, people play football on the streets, some churches are normally celebrating masses", reports the religious and adds: "While we await a scientific solution to this pandemic, we continue to raise awareness among the population of the respect for social distancing measures, of washing hands often, wearing a face mask and reducing unnecessary movements, thus trying to stop the spread of the virus".
In addition to COVID-19, he continues, "there are other problems in the list of our concerns in the country. Economic activities have declined in all the working groups of the Haitian diaspora, this has resulted in a reduction in money transfers to the country, evident because of the unemployment rate of Haitians living abroad".
In this stage a serious problem threatening the country is food insecurity: "Experts say that our country is the most threatened in our hemisphere. We continue to preach the hope and intercession of Our Mother of Perpetual Help, patron of Haiti, the Lord will continue to protect us so that these alarming predictions in the country are not so real", he concludes. (CE) (Agenzia Fides, 30/4/2020)