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Friday
Sep242010

URGENT: Severe Weather in Port-au-Prince, Haiti

Roads Blocked, Trees Down and Electricity Out Due to Heavy Wind and Rain

Reports are starting to spread across the internet that a severe tropical storm has just thrashed Port-au-Prince for the last hour or so. Trees have fallen down and are blocking major roads throughout the metropolitan area. Electricity lines are also down in many areas.

Leaders from camps of earthquake survivors are reporting that tents have been destroyed and blown down in the rain and flooding is occurring in many locations throughout the city. Despite the fact that the international community has been preparing contingency plans for hurricanes since the earthquake stuck in January, the majority of internally displaced people (IDPs) have absolutely no where to go when severe weather strikes.

Over the next several hours we will share photos and reports from camps we are able to reach in the city to tell the story of the aftermath of the storm. The larger question looms: if this much damage can result from a hearty tropical storm, what will a hurricane do to the more than 1.5 million people virtually out in the open?

Tonight thousands of families will shiver as the sun goes down and will huddle together in muddy camps to wait out another long night. On National Public Radio two days ago, Jason Beaubien reported that: “International aid agencies pledged to construct 130,000 units of temporary housing. But so far, only 10 percent of the shelters have been built.”

Shelter Cluster Coordinator Adam Fysh “predicts that in the coming months, it’s going to be increasingly difficult to find places to put transitional shelters. And thus the hundreds of thousands of people still in tents and camps will probably stay there even longer.” (listen to the NPR Report, “Amid Slow Recovery, Haiti’s Tent Cities Remain,” http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=130047763)

With more than a billion dollars already donated to charities and agencies for emergency relief in Haiti, protests are multiplying to demand decent housing and accountability for funds donated to help earthquake survivors who have been living precariously for more than eight months out in the parks and streets of Port-au-Prince. While the international community and Haitian Government blame archaic land policies and lack of debris removal, Haitians are asking why they are not worthy of even the minimum international standards for internally displaced people.

Today’s storm is just the most recent reminder of all the Haitian families who have literally been left out in the rain since the earthquake in January. We can do better; we must do better.

Reader Comments (1)

May God help us! Gras, Bondye. Nap mande'w gras.

September 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDina Michel-Wiggins

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