A sudden storm has left at least five quake survivors dead and dozens
more wounded as it blasted through Haiti’s capital, tearing down shabby
tent homes, trees and power lines.
Those killed on Friday
included two young girls and a 93-year-old woman who lived in close
quarters with the tens of thousands of people left homeless by the
powerful January 12 quake that devastated this impoverished Caribbean
nation, said civil protection official Nadia Lochard.
thousands of tents had been torn apart by the freak storm and the strong
winds and heavy rains it dumped in a matter of hours on Port-au-Prince,
still filled with rubble more than nine months after the quake.
of tents have been destroyed or damaged or simply blown away by wind
gusts. We began evacuating people to schools and other shelters," said
"People need blankets and clothes."
cities were also hit by the storm, prompting officials to fear a higher
US meteorologists said the storm was not linked to any
tropical storm system.
Meanwhile Tropical Storm Matthew killed
seven people in Venezuela and brought fresh misery to Central America,
where hundreds have been killed in flooding and landslides this year.
Tens of thousands of people were evacuated throughout the region.
Port-au-Prince strong winds blew roofs off houses, uprooted trees and
toppled power lines. Tents were blown away at a refugee camp near the
presidential palace, and the wind knocked over public toilets, victims
Dozens of residents of tent dwellers protested steps from
the presidential palace, which was also leveled in the quake.
were unable to enter this camp to evaluate damage. People were angry," a
civil protection agent explained.
Haitian officials said UN
soldiers and Haitian police were helping them evacuate people whose
shelters were destroyed or uprooted by the wind gusts, setting up hard
plastic shelters for the displaced.
International groups treated
many of the wounded. Others were transported to hospitals, according to a
foreign doctor who declined to provide a toll of the victims.
protection authorities said they were compiling data before releasing
Although the rain has stopped in Port-au-Prince,
forecasters warned fresh storms could lash the already battered nation
again in the coming days.
January’s quake killed 250,000 people,
left 1.3 million homeless and destroyed much of the capital.
125,000 Haitian families were put up in the emergency camps following
Tent cities have sprung up in and around the ruined
capital of the poorest country in the Americas, with little sign that
those left homeless and destitute will move into more permanent housing
in the near future.
International aid has been slow in coming,
with only a fraction of the funds promised for rebuilding efforts
Earlier in the hurricane season, the United
Nations identified 130 tent cities as being at risk from rains and winds
that could further worsen conditions for the most vulnerable, including
thousands of orphaned children.