Port-au-Prince – Haitians are bracing for the worst as tropical storm Tomas heads toward the more than one-million people still living in tent cities since the crippling 7.0 earthquake in January, 2010.
The cholera outbreak that has killed at least 250 Haitians so far due to a lack of fresh water since the earthquake.
This severe flooding could claim more Haitian lives and wash away tent cities which will add to the misery and suffering in that region.
Sean Penn made his way around the media circuits to warn about the upcoming hurricane season and what kind of a catastrophe it would create. Government officials and aid workers have also feared what would happen considering the small amount of infrastructure with many families sheltered only by plastic tents.
“It’s a recipe for disaster,” says Michael Zamba, spokesman for the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF) in Washington, which has operated in Haiti for nearly 30 years.
At 4 p.m., the center of Tropical Storm Tomas was located near latitude 16.6 north, longitude 76.0 west. Tomas is moving toward the north near 5 mph, 7 km/hr. A turn toward the north-northeast and northeast with an increase in forward speed is expected in the next 48 hours. On the forecast track the center will pass near Jamaica or Haiti tonight, near or over extreme eastern Cuba on Friday and near or over the southeastern Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands late Friday.
Maximum sustained winds are near 50 mph, 85 km/hr, with higher gusts. Some strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours, and Tomas could be near or at hurricane strength as the center passes Haiti, eastern Cuba, and thesoutheastern Bahamas.
Where are the billions of dollars in donations to create infrastructure since the earthquake?
Kit Miyamoto, the CEO of Miyamoto International, Structural and Earthquake Engineers said he estimates it will take 12 to 24 months to repair or reconstruct all 200,000 damaged or destroyed homes. That’s assuming the money actually comes through from international donors who pledged billions of dollars but seem reluctant to actually open their wallets, he says. “By sometime early next year,” he says, “you will see reconstruction.”
Miyamoto defends the decision to train Haitians to fix the buildings, rather than bring in more international workers to do the job. “Haiti doesn’t want thousands of engineers to show up and do the work for them,” he says. “So we have to train local engineers.”