Keeping an Eye on Tomas

As Tomas re-intensified from a tropical storm into a hurricane Friday, Week of Compassion partners in Port-au-Prince report rising water levels and driving winds of 85 mph that have already damaged banana plantations, and the storms forced evacuations among the 1.3 million people displaced by January’s landmark earthquake. 

The city center of Leogane is flooded after the Rouyonne River broke through its banks. Rain is only beginning in Haiti’s northern areas.

CWS partner and ACT Alliance member Norweigian Church Aid reports flooded camps in Cité Soleil.

The communities of Les Palmes, Delatte, and Petit-Goave have suffered extensive damage following the rains and some strong winds. There are destroyed houses and plantations, landslides, trees uprooted, roads damaged. With crops planted in October, harvests were to occur at the end of November or early December. Most of these crops seem to be destroyed now, which means stocks of foods and seeds are seriously compromised.

Our Response

Through our partners on the ground, Week of Compassion is actively involved in responding to the Jan. 12 earthquake; staff and local partners have made preparations for Tomas’ landfall. "The UN has noted a shortage of tarps in Haiti for emergency shelter needs," said CHurch World Service Haiti Program Coordinator Aaron Tate. That may be an issue if Tomas impacts the country substantially. "Fortunately CWS and its partners have been able to pre-position about 10,000 tarps and a sizeable stock of hygiene kits for immediate needs."

As foul weather dissipates, CWS staff in Port-au-Prince will begin to assess damage and determine appropriate action.  As of Saturday morning, 6 people have died in Haiti and the spread of cholera is feared.

How to Help

Contributions to help with the response can be made online or they can be sent to Week of Compassion, PO BOX 1986, Indianapolis, IN 46206.