Rainy Season, Flooding Loom for Haiti

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, March 2 (UPI) — Flood-producing heavy rains in Haiti killed at least 13 people, sent residents scurrying to rooftops and trapped people in vehicles and homes, officials said.

Several communities in southern Haiti have been flooded since Saturday, a civil emergency spokesman told The Guardian. U.N. troops and Haitian police moved 500 prisoners from a jail in Les Cayes as water engulfed the coastal city. Witnesses told the British newspaper houses collapsed and people fled for high ground.

The Haitian government, the United Nations and several international relief agencies are raising concerns about dangers posed by the Caribbean rainy season that runs from March or April into fall. Haiti still is recovering from the 7-magnitude earthquake Jan. 12 that killed more than 200,000 and left about 1.3 million people homeless, many living in overcrowded makeshift camps with little or no sanitation.

U.N. officials said the non-government organization plans to provide all families with two plastic tarps by May 1. Red Cross officials said about 40 percent of the population left homeless by the earthquake have received tents, tarps or shelter tool kits.

With the rainy season looming, officials have begun trying to cull tent city populations by registering families whose homes can be quickly repaired and rebuilt, The Guardian said. Other camp dwellers are being encouraged to move in with friends or relatives.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.