National day of mourning held in Haiti on Feb. 12

Posted Feb 12, 2010 by Kevin Jess
One month after the devastating earthquake in Haiti, which killed approximately 230,000 people, the nation is holding a national day of mourning. The January 12 quake also left 300,000 people injured and about one million homeless.
Shown are the remains of a cathedral in Port-au-Prince  Haiti  left unrecognizable by the violent ea...
Shown are the remains of a cathedral in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, left unrecognizable by the violent earthquake that devastated the city on 12 January.
United Nations
Services have been ongoing since 6 a.m. throughout the capital Port-au-Prince.
One service will be held at the ruins of the cathedral in the centre of the city with another one planned at the site of a mass grave where it is believed that tens of thousands of victims were buried, reports BBC News.
The main service will be held at the site of the National Palace, now in ruins, at the centre of the city. The government will set up large television screens in the relief camps to allow more people to follow the ceremony.
Later in the day, at 4:53 p.m., the time the earthquake hit, Haitians at home and around the globe will be asked to join each other in prayer.
It has been suggested to Haitians to wear either black or white clothing as a sign of respect for the victims.
Haitians filled local churches that were equipped with loud speakers outside to allow the throngs of people to listen to hymns and gospel music and take part in the ceremonies, reports the Canadian Press.
All of Haiti's major religions were taking part in the ceremony, with Voodoo priests reportedly being added at the last minute.
In one the largest humanitarian operations ever mounted, faith-based groups including Scientologists, Mormons, Baptists, Catholics, Jehovah's Witnesses and other missionaries have arrived in the country en masse to help those already on the ground.
Some Voodoo followers are converting to Christianity due to the availability of aid flowing into the country from the groups.
In an interview with Canadian Press, one such follower, Veronique Malot, 24, said she joined a Christian group just two weeks ago. She says, "The earthquake scared me. Voodoo has been in my family but the government isn't helping us. The only people giving aid are the Christian churches."
While it is not known exactly how much aid is provided through faith based groups, hundreds of millions of dollars in overseas aid from the U.S. Agency for International Development is reportedly funneled through these groups every year.
Churches around the world have been collecting donations for aid to Haiti since the earthquake and watchdog organizations warn that people should be careful when donating to any group.
One thing to watch for were organizations claiming that 100 per cent of your donation goes to help Haitian victims, reports the Examiner.
A heavy downpour on Thursday evening foreshadowed the misery that was yet to come for Haitians if more work is not done to provide shelter for people before the rainy season begins.