Hurricane Tomas is battering western Haiti right now. Jacob Kushner of the Associated Press has a harrowing tale of how residents of the town of Leogane, which was 90% destroyed in the earthquake, are now coping with the floodwaters:
Dozens of families in one earthquake-refuge camp carried their belongings through thigh-high water to a taxi post on high ground, waiting out the rest of the storm under blankets and a sign that read “Welcome to Leogane.”
In Leogane, an earthquake camp suddenly became an island as floodwater surged around it, stranding hundreds of people in their tents. Closer to the shore, water poured into the Leogane home of Abdul Khafid, swirling around the furniture. His family grabbed its most important items — birth certificates, a radio and a computer — and headed to their mosque to spend the night.
According to the latest projections from NOAA, the storm should pass in about six hours. In the meantime, storm surges, an overflowing river, and pounding rain are wreaking the kind of havoc that we’ve been expecting all week. I’m seeing reports over twitter of landslides in southwestern Haiti and the severe flooding along the River Grise. Three people are reported to have been killed so far.
Containing the cholera outbreak, tending to the sick and wounded, and getting people back to reasonable shelters is going to drive the recovery efforts in the coming days. Here are ways to help.