Haiti's Homeless Beset by Rainy Season

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, March 26 (UPI) — The 1.3 million Haitians left homeless by an earthquake more than two months ago face torrential rains flooding their makeshift housing, aid workers said.

A downpour lasting several hours Thursday sent sheets of water down sloping terrain, flushed out latrines and turned homeless camps into quagmires, The Times of London reported Friday.

“It was a nightmare. I was very frightened,” Alide Orelice, who lives in tent city on a golf course, told newspaper.

Government officials estimate at least 200,000 of the people left homeless by the Jan. 12 earthquake are particularly vulnerable, and thousands more are at risk from unsanitary conditions.

“We could have a huge second wave of casualties,” former U.S. President Bill Clinton, the U.N. special envoy to Haiti, said recently.

“This has the makings of major humanitarian disaster,” Alex Wynter, spokesman in Haiti for the International Federation of the Red Cross, told the British publication. “The rainy season for us boils down to a simple imperative of keeping people alive another day.”

The original plan was to build large transitional settlements for the homeless on safe sites outside Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s capital, which was devastated by the earthquake. That hasn’t happened and the Haitian government has been accused of corruption in its distribution of humanitarian aid, The Times said.

International aid workers have been handing out 100,000 tarps and tents every week, officials said.

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