As Tropical Storm Emily heads for Haiti, aid groups scramble to prepare relief efforts for the more than 600,000 people still in makeshift housing after the devastating January 2010 earthquake.
Haiti braced for potentially deadly rains and flooding from a tropical storm churning toward the Caribbean country where more than 600,000 earthquake survivors are still living in makeshift camps dubbed "tent cities."
The storm’s center was forecast to pass over Haiti’s southwestern peninsula Thursday afternoon, dropping as much as 20 inches of rain in isolated areas. The rains “could cause life-threatening flash floods and mudslides,” the center said Thursday morning.
Haiti’s civil protection agency told the Associated Press that rains from the storm already damaged several hundred homes and a cholera treatment center in the Central Plateau region, inland from the capital, Port-au-Prince.
Aid groups raced to help camp residents prepare by reinforcing their rickety tents and shacks, filling sandbags, and by digging draining ditches.
Although forecasters said Emily should weaken once in makes landfall, aid groups worried about flooding in the country’s deforested, mountainous terrain.
“Even if the storm is downgraded and the winds are not as strong, there will be tons of rain and that’s really dangerous for the people we work with living in tents and in the camps,” says Elise Young, a senior Haiti policy analyst for ActionAid USA, which runs in seven camps in the country.