New York State Funeral Directors Association

It’s hard to believe that two years has already passed since the Haitian earthquake disaster.

According to the United Nations, the 7.0-magnitude quake affected nearly 3 million people and killed approximately a quarter-million.

Of this number, very few bodies of the deceased were ever found by their families, and honored with a funeral service and proper burial rites.

Haitian families were forced to cope with sudden and tragic loss made even harder to bear with the absence of a body.

Research indicates that viewing the deceased or knowing that a body has been located helps to fulfill the psychological needs of those left behind.

Haiti is a nation where funeral rites are extremely sacred.

There were only a few priests available to conduct funeral rites.

It is estimated that 80% of Haitians are Catholic, but more than half of Haitians also practice Voodoo.

Most Haitians believe there must be a death ritual to release a loved one’s spirit to God; otherwise, the spirits are trapped.

As tens of thousands of unclaimed bodies were either taken away in pick-up trucks for burial in mass graves or taken by Haitian government authorities and cremated, many still worry that the spirits are not at rest.