Haiti in red alert as Tropical Storm Emily arrives

Tropical Storm Emily in HaitiAuthorities called on Tuesday for evacuations

According to the United States National Hurricane Center, Tropical Storm Emily is making its way over Puerto Rico and is heading towards the Dominican Republic and Haiti. In Puerto Rico, Storm Emily has already caused heavy rains that have driven locals to stock up bottled water and other emergency supplies.

Authorities in Haiti called on Tuesday for evacuations as Tropical Storm Emily threatened a direct hit on the impoverished nation still struggling to recover from a devastating 2010 earthquake.

A tropical storm warning was in effect for Haiti as well as its neighbour on the island of Hispaniola, the Dominican Republic, and for the US territory of Puerto Rico, the US National Hurricane Centre said.

Haiti’s weather service chief Ronald Semelfort said the storm could start pounding the country late Wednesday and that this represents a great danger for the country still fragile from the January 2010 earthquake.

Tens of thousands of Haitians remain in camps without adequate shelter more than 18 months after the catastrophic quake, which left an estimated 225 000 people dead.
Alta Jean-Baptiste, head of Haiti’s civil defence, said authorities were spreading the word and are asking people in refugee camps… to evacuate vulnerable locations » .
« We will review this evacuation strategy based on the probability of damage from the storm
the official added.

At 15:00 GMT, Emily was some 435km southeast of San Juan, Puerto Rico, packing winds of 60km/h, the Miami-based National Hurricane Centre reported. The storm was stationary but expected to resume its movement toward the Dominican Republic and Haiti.

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Haiti Live, le 03.08.11

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