My mouth dropped open when I read the words of ABC News reporter Amy Bingham in an article about the potential effect Tropical Storm Isaac could have on the city of Tampa as the Republican National Convention kicks off there on Monday. Most of the commenters on news stories like this made fun of the fact a storm was bearing down on a group of Republicans.
But my shock was over the complete lack of regard for the people of Haiti who are in real danger.
“Under the best case scenario, the storm could smash into the mountains of Haiti … then the weakened storm could sweep over the Bahamas and swirl off the east coast of Florida … missing Tampa…” wrote Bingham.
Seriously? A storm smashing into the mountains of the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere is the “best case scenario”?
I was just in those mountains of Southern Haiti in June. There are families and communities in those mountains who are extremely vulnerable to storms like this. They all talked of the terrible flooding that overtook their homes and villages in 2008 when four hurricanes hit Haiti. They are terrified of disasters, and because of their remote rural location in these mountains, most of them probably don’t even know another storm is coming their way.
I was glad today to see NBC News and a few others focusing on the danger to Haiti. If Isaac continues on its current path and strengthens into a hurricane, it will likely cause much damage to the homes and lives of the millions of people who live in Haiti.
World Concern is preparing staff members in Haiti and gathering emergency supplies to respond.
We’ve also been working to reduce the risk to communities in this region, like Côtes-de-Fer, a village near Bainet, along the southern coast of Haiti. We worked with community members to build a canal in 2010 that is designed to direct large amounts of rainwater away from homes and into the ocean.
“The water used to flood my house,” said Dieudonné Felix, who lives in Côtes-de-Fer. “The last time it rained, the rainwater went straight to the sea. This is a big improvement.”
But even communities with canals are at risk because Isaac is expected to dump more than 12 inches of rain—possibly up to 20 inches—on Haiti today and tomorrow.
Please join me in praying for the people of Haiti, World Concern staff and others who work in this area, and all who will be affected by this storm.