Agencies offering aid to the people of Haiti were rushing about Thursday in attempts to get as many people to secure shelters as possible as Tropical Storm Tomas approached. The country has yet to recover from a devastating earthquake in January and may face more destruction if Tomas packs the punch that is expected.
Leonard Doyle, a spokesman for International Organization for Migration, noted that most of the people were already displaced as a result of the earthquake and the agency was working as quick as possible to move people from their tent camps into a stronger shelter. That group was moving around 2000 people into a church.
The government had been advising Haitians for 24 hours to seek shelter but for the 1.3 million people who were already homeless are finding that hard to do. There are not many good options for these people as buildings that would normally be used for shelter are no longer standing.
The winds, torrential rain, flash flooding and potential landslides from this storm could be disastrous to the country. Long before the earthquake Haiti was among the poorest countries with 80 percent of the people living in poverty. As they have tried to rebuild, a cholera outbreak has occurred and taken 450 lives so far with thousands suffering from the disease.
It is expected that even a slight touch of the tropical storm could spread the epidemic into Port-au-Prince where a third of the population is living in camps.
For those that have shelter to go to, people are reluctant to move and leave what little they do possess.
The forecast shows that Tomas will strengthen and hit the western tip of Haiti Friday as a Category 1 hurricane. This could bring 5 to 10 inches of rain with some areas seeing up to 15 inches. This could trigger floods and mudslides. The water could rise up to 3 feet above normal due to storm surge with destructive waves.