AMERICA/HAITI - Father Víctor Auguste: “The situation is difficult to describe in words”

Friday, 7 June 2024

Port-au-Prince (Agenzia Fides) - "Life in Haiti, especially in the metropolitan area Port-au-Prince, is difficult to describe in words. We are in a state of almost total anarchy. People are generally unable to carry out their activities and the main roads are closed," says Father Victor Auguste, a Salesian missionary who lives in Haiti. "The violence of the gangs is causing a significant number of displaced people, especially women and children," he affirms. Despite the great insecurity and misery, the Salesian missionaries, along with many others, continue to stand by the Haitian people.

"Every day we face enormous risks and when I hear that an institution has been attacked, I think about when it will be our turn," continues the missionary and economist of the Salesians of Don Bosco.
"A few weeks ago several nuns were kidnapped. The perpetrators entered their house and took them away. After a few days, they reappeared. And the same thing happens to the civilian population. They disappear and the perpetrators ask for money to release them. We live in the midst of the events and, like our brothers and sisters, we face the same difficulties. But we never considered the possibility of leaving the country because that would mean giving up our mission to help the most needy in difficult times. It is true that we are all vulnerable now, but it is our life choice. Being close to people and experiencing what they are going through is already a great sign of hope because we hope that we will succeed in helping them in their most urgent needs."

"We live in a constant climate of insecurity, with forced displacement and famine. The problems of food, hygiene and drinking water must be solved urgently. It is also very difficult to ensure economic survival. The little money we had was intended for the enrollment of students. Now most of the schools in Port-au-Prince cannot open. As an economist, I have to ask the community for drastic rationing because we really do not know what will happen tomorrow. What is clear is that the gangs want to control the whole country. Most of the financial resources we have come from abroad. It is very difficult to get help in the urban areas because the communication routes are closed. However, something can be done in the rest of the country, especially in the north. There we can buy products and distribute them to those closest to us, such as students, their families and our collaborators," reports the missionary.

Fr. Victor concludes with an appeal to the entire international community to participate in initiatives to help the Haitian people out of their serious situation. "Haiti has been in a serious political, economic and social crisis for years... and for this reason it is difficult to mobilize concrete and practical help that can counteract the criminal gangs. We are grateful to all those who help us and for the interest they show in learning about this crisis that we are going through in silence and in the face of the indifference of the international community," affirms the religious. (AP) (Agenzia Fides, 7/6/2024)