Friday, August 24, 2012

Tropical Storm Isaac Threatens Haiti

  2008 Hurricane Hanna swelled Riviere Mancelle and washed away part of Gros Morne.

As of 2 pm Friday August 24, tropical storm Isaac was 135 miles south southeast of Port-au-Prince scheduled to make landfall at 8 pm this evening. The country is bracing itself for the worst because more than 300,000 vulnerable Haitian are still living in tent cities in Port-au-Prince.

Haitians still remember 2008 when 4 tropical storms (Fay, Gustav, Hanna, and Ike) ravaged the island. More than 110,000 people sought shelter because of destroyed dwellings; more than 800 people and 300 people were missing. The torrential rain caused massive mudslides and flooding. Riviere Mancelle, in Gros Morne, overflowed its banks and washed away a considerable portion of the town see photos).

Tropical storm Isaac comes at a bad time, with Haiti just recovering from the 2009 earthquake. Haitian officials fear the storm will cause more displaced persons, shortages of food and water, over flooding of sanitation systems leading to resurgence of the cholera epidemic and other water-born infections, and loss of vital crops.

Medicine for Peace personnel in Haiti and Washington, DC are following the path of the storm closely and prepared to respond if necessary.