In response to news of Hurricane Tomas, we’ve received a number of inquiries about the safety of C2C’s President and Chairman of the Board, who had planned to be in Port-au-Prince this week to monitor the newly open clinic (a clinic update to follow). I want to thank everyone for their concern – late Tuesday night the trip was canceled, so Liz and Keith are safely in Massachusetts.
The 1.3 million people virtually trapped in tent camps in Port-au-Prince, however, are significantly less-safe. Yesterday, the Haitian government made what some (I) might call an absurd public announcement to evacuate tent shelters and find secure housing. I mean no disrespect by this, but if it had been possible, wouldn’t many people have left the IDP camps months ago? I mean, it’s almost insulting, “We haven’t been able to provide an alternative, but we’ve figured out that tents aren’t a good long-term or hurricane-term solution and we advise that you get out of dodge.” Every man for himself, eh?
Because of the city’s poor drainage, streets strewn with rubble, and lack of trees or vegetation, flash floods could hit and rush through the dense tent camps. Also, cholera is a water-borne bacterial disease: poor drainage and sanitation plus a deluge of rain (estimated between 10″-15″) will complicate efforts to control the spread of the disease.
In sum, Liz and Keith have postponed their trip, and Haitians: look for high ground. A quick note on this: shipping containers make excellent housing structures. Check out Haiti Green Home.