Tropical Strom Emily Nears Haiti

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By Ivana Kvesic, Christian Post Reporter
August 2, 2011|2:15 pm

Tropical storm Emily is hitting the Caribbean and is inching closer to Haiti.

It is forecast that the storm will crash into the Dominican Republic before hitting Haiti on Wednesday afternoon.

With tropical storm Emily having the potential to slice though Haiti's capital, Port au Prince, questions are arising as to Haiti's ability to withstand another natural disaster after the January 2010 earthquake that destroyed Port au Prince.

As Port au Prince is still recovering from the damage, an estimated 634,000 people continue to live in displacement camps, according to the International Organization for Migration.

A hurricane would exhaust the city considering thousands of people are still without adequate shelter, and the fact that Haiti is already prone to devastating floods.

Haitian authorities have called for evacuations and Haitian weather service chief Ronald Semelfot said that the storm “represents a great danger for the country still fragile from the January 2010 earthquake."

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Although, Emily has yet to be defined as a Category 1 hurricane, the weakest level of hurricane where damage typically leads to broken windows and the destruction of older homes and roofs, Haiti's weakened infrastructure and level of displacement would offer a serious challenge to facing another disaster.

Furthermore, heavy rain could potentially affect Haiti's cholera problem as rain could effectively help spread contaminated water through camps.

As of now, the U.S. National Hurricane Centre (NHC) has placed Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands under a tropical storm watch.

Presently, the storm has stalled south of Puerto Rico, however, it is expected to continue its westward path later in the day.

Puerto Rico also faces challenges with Emily as it has been dealing with heavy rainfall in recent months and is expected to get up to 6 inches of rain from the storm.

Potentially fatal mudslides and floods are a likely reality for Puerto Rico in the coming days as the NHC has said that Emily "could cause life-threatening flash floods and mudslides in areas of mountainous terrain."

 

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