Haitians' Faith Undeterred Despite Delays in Aid

Locals in Haiti create makeshift altars in order to pray and sing together during daylight hours. (Photo: Warga/New York Daily News)

The faith of survivors and aid workers in the devastated country of Haiti continues to persevere in spite of hindered efforts to provide aid to the region.

Episcopal Diocese of Haiti Bishop Jean Zaché Duracin rejected offers to evacuate him from Port-au-Prince, telling members of his church that he must remain in the Haitian capital to help care for fellow survivors.

"No, I will stay with my people," Duracin said according to Episcopal News Service (ENS).

The bishop, who was made homeless by the quake, is currently helping to care for 3,000 other homeless victims in a tent city in downtown Port-au-Prince.

"The people are strong," ENS reported Duracin as saying. "We still have our people, and they are strong. We need to help them."

Scenes of worship and prayer have been common among the faithful in Haiti since the 7.3 quake rocked the Caribbean nation on Jan. 12.

Catholics in the region have reportedly held all-night prayer vigils every evening since the disaster struck last Tuesday. Sunday morning saw some of the group's first worship offered by daylight, with most services given next to the ruins of former churches.

Dolan Volcy told the New York Daily News that in spite of daunting circumstances, the Haitian people "always have hope. I don't know why, maybe they have been born with that, but they hope."

"We have not lost faith in God. We are still here, and to be alive is to have faith," 22-year- old Germain Jameson told the paper.

The sincerity of the Haitian people's faith has rung even truer in light of the massive struggle volunteer workers have faced in providing relief to region, with troubles caused by damage to the country's infrastructure continuing to hinder efforts.

Limited space at Haiti's single airport has caused a bottleneck for the "literally hundreds" of flights trying to land in Port-au-Prince, Capt. John Kirby, a spokesman for the U.S. Joint Task Force Haiti told CNN.

"It is a sheer volume issue," Kirby said. "There are more planes that want to land here than we can accommodate in any given hour."

Medical volunteer Tim Traynor said that most of the 200 beds at the Sacre Coeur Hospital in nearby Milot are lying empty, with less than five patients trickling in at one time.

"We are within 30 minutes by air. We could take 200 to 300 people. We can do amputations. We have a fully operational trauma center, and no patients," he told CNN.

Other issues such as lack of fuel for vehicles and equipment and communications impairments have also hampered efforts to provide relief.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told CNN on Monday that coordinating relief efforts in Haiti is "a great challenge at this time" and asked the Haitian people for grace and patience.

"I know that there is a frustration amongst Haitian people, but when I met them, from their faces, I have seen that they have great hope and they are great, resilient people," said Ban, who visited Haiti over the weekend.

"I told them ... to be more patient, because (the) whole world (is) standing behind them."

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