Hurricane Tomas Passes Through Haiti Leaving at Least Six Dead

first_img Hurricane Tomas passed through Haiti, November 5th, leaving at least six dead, but spared the Caribbean nation from wider destruction, as had been initially feared, although it is still difficult to assess the extent of the damage, and certain areas remained isolated due to heavy flooding. Rain levels decreased Friday afternoon over the capital, Port-au-Prince, which had clear skies, according to an AFP reporter. Due to the alert launched by the government, the city appeared empty. Schools, public offices, banks and the airport were all closed with the exception of a few small businesses where Haitians were buying provisions. Speaking to the Haitian people, President René Préval, however, urged them not to let down their guard: “The heavy rains and winds from hurricane Tomas which have caused dangerous mudslides and heavy flooding could worsen the cholera epidemic. Remain vigilant.” Haiti has been battling a cholera epidemic since mid-October, which has killed at least 442 people. Hurricane Tomas left a toll of six dead in its wake between Thursday and Friday in Haiti, with two of the deaths reported in Léogâne, a city in western Haiti that was 60% destroyed during the January 12 earthquake, and which is now one of the hardest hit areas following the hurricane. “There will be more victims due to flooding and mudslides”, warned Philippe Joseph, of the Haitian Civil Defense, noting that the most affected areas remained inaccessible due to blocked roads and damaged bridges. Préval announced his government stands ready to provide massive aid to the affected areas “once the condition of the roads permits it.” International aid is already reaching Haiti. The United States has prepared emergency supplies to assist 125,000 people with hygiene kits, potable water, cooking utensils, and blankets, said Mark Ward from the United States Department of State, in charge of coordinating international emergency aid. France announced it would be sending a cargo plane stocked with aid supplies. Meanwhile, the USS Iwo Jima, with almost 1,600 service members onboard as part of the Continuing Promise 2010 (CP10) mission stand ready to support the Government of Haiti. Presently, CP10 personnel are preparing to support USAID and UN efforts to respond to the storm. Initial support will likely consist of aerial road and damage assessments after the storm and moving supplies to areas where they are most needed. By Dialogo November 06, 2010last_img