Like me, you have probably been dismayed by events unfolding during the past week in two different parts of the world, Afghanistan and Haiti. As each of these countries undergoes a humanitarian crisis, we know that there is an urgent need for assistance for those impacted by difficult events.
The collapse of the national government in Afghanistan has created perilous conditions for thousands of Afghans, many of whom have worked closely with Americans during the past 20 years. It has been difficult to witness the agonizing scenes at the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul. On behalf of Le Moyne, I hope for a speedy and safe resolution to the current turmoil and offer words of support and comfort to those members of our community, including students, who have lived and served in Afghanistan and who have friends and loved ones there. I have been in touch with Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Congressman John Katko, and officials with Interfaith Works and Catholic Charities to let them know that we are available to offer assistance to refugees if needed.
In the days following a major earthquake, Haiti is experiencing an urgent need for medical, food and sanitation assistance. In addition to a heartbreaking death toll of more than 2,000 people and numerous injuries, Haiti’s infrastructure has experienced significant damage, as an estimated 53,000 homes were completely destroyed by the earthquake, 77,000 more were damaged, and 24 health care facilities and nearly 300 schools were damaged or destroyed. And let us not forget the ongoing political upheaval occasioned by the recent coup d’état.
I am grateful to members of the Le Moyne community who are mobilizing on behalf of the people of Haiti. Campus Ministry is collecting money to provide help to Haiti, which will be sent to Catholic Relief Services. Donations can be made payable to Le Moyne College Campus Ministry with CRS Haiti in the memo line. I encourage you to send or drop off a donation to the Campus Ministry Offices in the Panasci Family Chapel. I offer my condolences to those members of our community who have lost loved ones in this disaster and pray for healing and stability in Haiti.
Recently, Pope Francis addressed the crisis in Afghanistan and called upon all people to join him in praying to “the God of peace so that the clamor of weapons might cease and solutions can be found at the table of dialogue.” Besides praying, our Jesuit mission calls us to research and study the root causes of human suffering and to be in solidarity with the poor and marginalized as a concrete expression of our commitment to social justice - being women and men for and with others. Please join me in praying for those whose lives are being impacted by these situations and including them in our learning activities.
Linda M. LeMura, Ph.D.