The resounding question in everyone’s mind today is, how much more can Haiti take? With more than one million people still homeless after January’s quake, and a recent outbreak of deadly cholera that has now claimed the lives of more than 400 people, a tropical storm that could dump 10-15 inches of rain is the last thing Haiti needs.
World Concern Haiti staff are preparing for the worst. During the storm, which is expected to move through the area early Friday, staff members have been instructed to take shelter, making sure their cell phones are charged, and to have a fresh supply of water, food and batteries on hand. In the hours leading up to the storm, they’ve been assembling emergency kits and tallying shelter materials for families in the areas we serve. Tarps and tents won’t provide much protection during the storm, but they will be needed immediately afterwards to replace damaged shelters. Tarps are among the items included in the emergency kits.
Getting emergency supplies to people will no doubt be a challenge, and coordinating this is a major effort. The practice of cutting trees in Haiti for firewood and charcoal has left the land vulnerable to mudslides. Heavy rain could wash out roads and make reaching people in need difficult.
Many of the areas where people are currently living in camps are low-lying and previously uninhabitable because of the flood risk. Flooding could also worsen the spread of water-borne disease, including cholera.
Some people take comfort in the fact the storm currently appears to be slowing and not strengthening much. However, forecasters note the danger of increased amounts of rainfall with a slower storm that lingers over Haiti.
We’ll keep you posted on our response in Haiti as we’re able to communicate with our staff there. Until then, we appreciate your prayers.
For more information, visit www.worldconcern.org