Haitian Tent Camps Hope Tomas Misses Capital

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Hurricane Tomas is bearing down on the devastated island nation of Haiti as hundreds of thousands of homeless earthquake victims must now leave their tent camps.

Haitian President Rene Preval has admitted that his government doesn't have enough places in reserve to move everyone.

Chaos erupted at one tent city as aid workers attempted to evacuate hundreds of thousands in advance of Tomas.

Fear among the people has been spreading. A number of camp residents are staying behind. They are afraid they will lose their few possessions and be denied permission to return when the storm is over. Most of Haiti's 1 million post-quake homeless live under donated plastic tarps on open fields and often on private land. The government has already forcibly closed a one-fourth of the camps spread across the countryside.

Another safety concern is the hurricane could trigger a foot of rain and deadly mudslides just above the tents.

"It is vulnerable to high winds and also to flooding from the hills behind," a United Nations official said.

The flooding could also escalate the recent cholera outbreak. Health experts are concerned the storm could cause the outbreak to spread to the highly populated capital of Port-au-Prince.

Operation Blessing International has dozens of water purification units in place across the island nation. Each one supplies 10,000 gallons of water a day.

The Red Cross is organizing disaster kits, but has nowhere near enough for 1 million people.

"We've got about 17,000 of these full sets in Haiti at the moment and ready to deploy should there be a disaster--after Tomas--we've got 8,000 of these coming in," said a Red Cross official. "So that's enough for about 125,000 people."

Another issue for both evacuees and aid workers is trying to maneuver around the country on nearly impassable roads, which are still filled with rubble almost ten months after the earthquake.

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CBN News
Heather Sells

Heather Sells

CBN News Reporter

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