Hurricane Tomas Brings More Suffering to Haiti

Photo courtesy of Reuters/CARLOS BARRIA, www.alertnet.org
Photo courtesy of Reuters/CARLOS BARRIA, www.alertnet.org

As Hurricane Tomas bore down on Haiti, AmeriCares mounted emergency response efforts. AmeriCares disaster relief team in Haiti delivers lifesaving medical aid to partners serving the hardest hit communities.

Hurricane Tomas has since been downgraded, but the storm killed at least four people in Haiti and others are still missing. Pounding rains flooded squalid earthquake refugee camps outside Port-au-Prince. Garbage and refuse flowed through city streets still in disrepair after the earthquake.

Despite the threat of Hurricane Tomas and calls for evacuation, thousands of Haitian families would not leave dangerous tent cities. Many were afraid to abandon what little they have after the January 2010 earthquake. Others simply had nowhere else to go find shelter from torrential rains and winds as high as 75 mph.  

Since the beginning of the rainy season, emergency aid and relief supplies have been stocked in Haiti. AmeriCares also recently sent an emergency airlift of medical aid and relief supplies to fight Haiti’s ongoing cholera outbreak.

"With the recent airlift providing critical medicines and supplies, AmeriCares has restocked its warehouse and was prepared for the storm," said Rachel Granger, VP for Post Emergency Programs. "A major concern from the storm that continues is an increase in the spread of cholera. So far the deadly disease had killed more than 440 people and sickened more than 6,700.”

Nearly 1.3 million men, women and children remain homeless and vulnerable after the January earthquake. Many survivors still live in makeshift tents and shelters with little or no protection from Hurricane Tomas. 

“With the earthquake, then cholera, and now this storm – the Haitian people are facing yet another heartbreaking crisis,” continued Granger.

AmeriCares has already delivered over $30 million in aid to Haiti to help survivors of the devastating January 2010 earthquake.