We have been in Haiti for 3 weeks now and there is so much we have experienced and hope to share with you over the next days and weeks. It will all come in due time but the big news now is the affects of hurricane Sandy.
Today was the 3rd day of heavy rains here in Haiti, which are predicted to continue until Saturday. It seems to come in waves of light rain followed by some real heavy stuff. Today was also the 2nd day in a row the government closed the schools but they also declared today a national holiday so most stores were also closed. It might seem strange to close schools due to rain but it becomes quite dangerous for the children walking to school when streets are flooded and become torrents of rushing water. The situation in much of the country is dire.
This is from today’s UN Situation Report
- Red Alert (highest level) in force all over the country
- Damage assessments ongoing, but hampered by bad weather and poor nature of roads
- Flooding: All the rivers in southern Haiti have burst their banks resulting in damage to farms, homes and infrastructure
- Casualty figures: 29 confirmed deaths; 08 wounded; and 04 missing
- Evacuations: 18,796 people evacuated to 136 emergency shelters
- 5,981 affected families
- Houses: 1,811 flooded; 1,885 destroyed; 2,089 damaged.
- Government of Haiti has disbursed 897,443 USD in emergency funds for response to TS Sandy
Here is a video taken yesterday of the River Grise in Croix-des-Missions, on the northern edge of Port-au-Prince. Since video taped several more inches of rain have fallen.
I (Larry) was out driving around today and there was very little traffic on the roads or merchants out on the street. When the weather is like this with constant rain there is really no point being out on the side of the road getting sprayed by passing cars selling nothing. The only street merchant (like literally in the street trying to sell to stopped cars) I saw today doing any business was the guy selling windshield wiper blades)
While we are safe and dry hundreds of thousands of people here in Haiti will sleep, or try to sleep tonight while soaking wet; just as many will not sleep for fear of even higher flooding, flash floods and landslides.
Please pray with us that the rain will stop sooner than predicted and those agencies on the ground here will be able to respond to this disaster rapidly, efficiently showing love and dignity to all affected.