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Much remains to be done in Haiti, says CRS head

Catholic Relief Services president Ken Hackett speaks at the Boston Catholic Charities Spring Celebration May 20. While in Boston, Hackett spoke to The Pilot about CRS’s work and challenges in Haiti. Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy

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BOSTON -- Today, much of Port-au-Prince and the area surrounding the Haitian capital city is marked by rubble following a devastating earthquake in January. As the area lies in ruins, the challenge of rebuilding remains, according to Ken Hackett, the president of Catholic Relief Services, the relief and development arm of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

CRS is coordinating the Catholic Church’s response to the recent Haitian earthquake, and according to Hackett, relief should focus on more than just short-term fixes. Rather, relief must provide lasting solutions to political and economic problems that have plagued the country for awhile.

“Haiti didn’t (just) get in to the situation it is today. It’s been in that situation for a long time,” Hackett said. “To wish it away is not going to be adequate. There’s going to have to be real leadership in the Church, government, and society.”

In a May 21 interview with The Pilot at Boston Catholic Charities headquarters, Hackett called on the Haitian people, the Catholic Church, and the Haitian government to provide the leadership that can establish effective long-term solutions that will allow Haiti to rebuild following the earthquake.

Hackett spoke to The Pilot while on a visit to Boston. The evening before, Hackett accepted Catholic Charities’ annual Justice and Compassion Award at their annual gala at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.

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