Thursday, August 04, 2011

Tropical Storm Emily bears down on Haiti's tent dwellers

In a city where a large population still live in tents, a tropical storm can be very threatening. That is the reality now for those that still live in the tent camps in Part-au-Prince, Haiti.

Tropical Storm Emily was near the south coast of the island this morning, and threatened to pass over Haiti this afternoon. The storm so far has caused flooding and damage to homes for Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

From the Associated Press, writer Trenton Daniel explains the treat the storm poses for the Haiti's homeless.

In Haiti, about 600,000 people are still in flimsy tents and shanties because of the January 2010 earthquake, strong winds whipped through palm trees in the capital while heavier rains fell further north, damaging homes as well as a cholera treatment center, said Marie Alta Jean-Baptiste, the country's civil defense director. But there were no reports of deaths.

In the capital, which has most of those left homeless by the earthquake, the rain was relatively light so far, but the government evacuated a few families from a camp for quake victims to a school that is being used as a storm shelter, said Jean-Joseph Edgard, an administrator in Haiti's Civil Protection Department.

There was reason for concern. A slow-moving storm in June triggered mudslides and floods in Haiti and killed at least 28 people. Widespread poverty makes it difficult for people to take even the most basic precautions.

Joceline Alcide stashed her two children' birth certificates and school papers in little plastic bags that aid groups handed out. It was her only means to protect herself.

"There really isn't much more we can do. We just got these bags," the 39-year-old Alcide said, standing outside her teepee-like tarp shelter.

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