Entries in Hurricane Tomas (2)


One Year After Haiti's Quake: Rubble Clogs Capital, Cholera Babies

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(PORT AU PRINCE, Haiti) --  One year after a catastrophic 7.0 magnitude earthquake rocked Haiti, its capital, Port-au-Prince, is hard at work trying to rebuild itself.

Projects create dust on every street corner, but many are privately funded and done piecemeal, often using the same rusted rebar that failed Haitians the first time.

It is estimated about 700 million-cubic-feet of rubble have yet to be cleared, enough to fill six Superdomes.  Only 10 percent of the rubble has been removed.  It is Haiti's biggest challenge, Prime Minister Jean Max Bellerieve told ABC News Wednesday.

The prime minister said the bulk of the rubble cleared -- enough to open most of the city's shattered  streets -- was paid for by the government, although most of the removal ABC News has witnessed in four trips over the past year resulted from private initiatives -- most often Haitians using shovels, picks and buckets.

Aside from rubble, the country is still facing many other challenges.

Bellerieve told ABC News the government has revised its previous estimate of the death toll from 230,000 to 316,000, meaning about three percent of Haiti's entire population died.

Haiti has yet to elect a new president, and it's voters continue to wait for the results of the disputed Nov. 29 elections.  The runoff for the three putative front runners -- the wife of a former president, with scant political experience, a former hip hop star, and a government anointed successor with a checkered past -- has been postponed to March, all under the threat of violence.

Following the quake, Haiti was hit by Hurricane Tomas, rekindling a cholera outbreak that claimed the lives of over 3,600 people.  Pregnant women and their newborns are still fighting and dying from the infection, and only one full service maternity hospital, run by the emergency relief group Doctors Without Borders, exists in the country.´╗┐

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Defiance Before the Storm: Haitian Refugees Refuse to Flee

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti) -- A powerful hurricane is inching its way toward the vulnerable tent cities that surround Port-au-Prince, Haiti. But many of the residents who lost their homes to the devastating January earthquake are refusing to budge this time, even physically ejecting aid workers from their ramshackle camps.

Hurricane Tomas, a Category 1 hurricane with winds whipping up to 85 miles per hour, is due to make landfall on the western end of the island nation where rain is already flooding parts of the country. The storm's outer bands are expected to pound its capital city, which was leveled less than a year ago in an earthquake that killed an estimated 250,000 people and left millions homeless.

Government aid workers used bull horns and leaflets to warn more than a million tent city residents to leave the refugee camps for safer grounds Thursday, but were driven away by the people they attempted to help. There was no real violence, but frustration was evident as people broke equipment and slammed debris on the ground. The crowd booed, trashed the tables and chairs the workers had brought with them, even ripped up the blue and orange bracelets the workers had hoped would mark the evacuees.

Health officials fear that the death toll could rise, not only because of the direct effects of the hurricane, but because the storm will cripple efforts to stem an outbreak of cholera. Haitian health clinics have been battling a cholera outbreak for weeks, with more than 3,000 reported cases and nearly 300 resulting deaths.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio´╗┐

ABC News Radio