Tropical Storm Emily Hits Haiti With Torrential Rains; Authorities Prepared for Worst

Tropical Storm Emily has dropped heavy rain in parts of Haiti on Thursday morning, which agencies predict could potentially cause serious flooding.

According to CNN, 12,000 United Nations peacekeepers waited on emergency standby in preparation of the storm.

“We have propositioned stocks, food, medical kits, cholera kits, tents, tarpaulins both here in Port-au-Prince and in departments to prepare for the storm,” said Kevin Kennedy with the United Nations to CNN. “Some 360 evacuation sites have been identified just here in Port-au-Prince metropolitan area, and we can host up to 50,000 people for two days.”

Kennedy also mentioned that if needed, additional supplies could be flown in from Panama.

Forecasters have predicted the storm would make landfall on Haiti’s southern peninsula by dawn and unleash torrential rains.

This storm comes as a major problem for Haitians who live in a country where more than 600,000 people still live without shelter after last year’s horrific earthquake.

The U.N. Stabilization Mission in Haiti has already deployed members to areas at risk of flooding, after an alert was issued to residents of Haiti by the government warning them that the heavy rains could cause not only serious floods, but mudslides as well.

“Emily is expected to produce total rainfall accumulations of 6 to 12 inches with isolated amounts of 20 inches are possible over the Dominican Republic and Haiti,” the National Hurricane Center said.

The storm was about 100 miles south of Port-au-Prince early Thursday morning, said the NHC, carrying winds up to 50 mph.

“Some weakening is possible during the next 24 to 36 hours as Emily interacts with the high terrain of Haiti and eastern Cuba,” NHC said. “Some re-strengthening is possible when the cyclone moves over the Bahamas.”

Forecasters also said that Emily could brush the southeast coast of Florida by Saturday morning, but no warnings have been issued yet.