Tornado-Like Haiti Storm Kills 5

A serious tornado-like storm tore through Port-au-Prince Friday night, killing five people, injuring 50, and ripping nearly 6,000 emergency tents to shreds, according to Reuters. World Concern Haiti emergency coordinator Alfred Mondiwa says makeshift shelters “were just overwhelmed and destroyed by the storm.”

Storms spell trouble for the more than 1 million left homeless from the Haiti earthquake. (2-27-10 REUTERS/Carlos Barria - www.alertnet.org)

“It was pretty scary,” said Mondiwa. “It came so unexpectedly. We had not heard any forecast for this.”

Mondiwa is assessing the damage and expects that World Concern will give tarps to families whose shelters were destroyed in the next few days. In addition, World Concern may provide other humanitarian aid for families, depending on need.

“We may give other items, like bedding, pots and pans, clothing,” said Nick Archer, senior director of disaster response. “We’re going to assess the damage and respond as needed.”

In the meantime, construction of semi-permanent transitional shelters will continue on Monday. Mondiwa expects that Haitian work crews will be able resume repairing damaged homes and building sturdy transitional shelters as they have been for the last several months.

The transitional shelters, built from metal, brick and plastic sheeting, are designed to last for 3-5 years or longer. So far, World Concern has built or repaired about 800 homes since the Jan. 12 earthquake.

The Atlantic hurricane season lasts through November, according to the National Weather Service. Most years, Haiti is hit by at least one hurricane. In 2008, Haitians endured three hurricanes and a strong tropical storm.

To learn more or donate to World Concern’s response in Haiti, visit www.worldconcern.org/haiti-earthquake

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