New Rochelle / Australasia News, 17th January 2010 -- Now that Salesians and Salesian relief workers have been inside Haiti and returned to the Dominican Republic, a clearer picture of the devastation and loss of life is emerging. In Rome, the names of three (not four) Salesians have been entered into the Necrology: Bro Hubert Sanon, 85, and clerical students Wilfried Atismé, 28 and Valsaint Vilbrun, 26. There are other injuries - Fr Attilio Stra from the LAKAY street children centre has been airlifted to a hospital in Santo Domingo with a back injury but his injury is not life-threatening and he is in good spirits. The degree of assistance and direct intervention from ANT Province is outstanding and this province has become an essential staging post for relief activity.
The situation at ENAM (École Nationale des Arte et Métiers) remains disastrous. With no heavy lifting equipment available, no international teams are able to gain access to either the living or the dead under the rubble. The area has also been subject to looting. The 'normal' time frame for rescue with hope of finding survivors has now expired. The number of students may be as many as 500, despite the earlier quoted figure of 200.
Huge support is coming in from around the Salesian world. Even some of the tiniest Salesian presences in mission areas have wanted to do their bit with what little they have.
In our own region, Fr Albeiro Rodas in Cambodia, a journalist by profession, has been active in providing information to the Cambodian people via communications media in the country. He has also placed videos on YouTube in direct support of Salesian Missions, the result of the Comms Dept which he runs. You might like to take a look at this link.
Meanwhile in Haiti the provincial council has been able to meet and establish priorities both for this emergency phase and to look at steps for longer-term operations.
Unless there are dramatic developments or particular items of interest coming out of our own region in this regard, this will most likely be the final report from austraLasia on the situation for the time being. You can follow ANS, which has established a number of direct contacts with key people and its information will be up-to-date and as accurate as can be hoped for.