Hurricane Tomas bears down on Haiti
    November 5 2010 by Barbara Denman, Baptist Press

    PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — An embattled Haiti is bracing for Hurricane Tomas, which strengthened into a hurricane today before its projected hit.

    In the 10 months since the Jan. 12 earthquake, Haitians have lived in fear of two potential threats, with more than 1.3 million homeless in unsanitary and unstable tent cities: disease and hurricanes in the tropical climate.

    Those living in tent cities are most at risk. What the strong winds do not destroy, the floodwaters will, as thousands of tents line riverbanks and low-lying areas.

    Florida and Southern Baptist disaster relief teams on the ground in Port-au-Prince are making preparations for the worst, said Eddie Blackmon, Haiti Rebuild coordinator for Southern Baptist Disaster Relief.

    “We are sending two medical teams from Pensacola back to the U.S., getting our water supplies together in a safe place and filling up our vehicles with gas, much like we do when a hurricane is threatening Florida,” said Blackmon. Construction materials being used to rebuild homes also are being secured, he noted.

    Although media reports suggest that the government is moving people out of the tent cities, Blackmon said he had driven through the tent cities in Port-au-Prince during the past two days and “seen no movement. My biggest concern is for the people in the tent cities.”

    “There is really no place for them to go,” Blackmon added. “If there were, the government would have moved them before now.”

    Fritz Wilson, incident commander of the Haiti earthquake response and Florida Baptist disaster relief director, reported that the convention has 17 tons of rice positioned in warehouses across Haiti, with pastors trained for making distributions if needed.

    “We have our supplies and resources on the ground,” Wilson said.

    “In God’s timing,” he said, “next week we are scheduled to take more than 4,000 Buckets of Hopes to Jeremie and Les Cayes,” towns in southwestern Haiti where the hurricane is likely to hit. Each bucket, packed by Southern Baptist hands, contains enough food to feed a Haitian family for more than a week.

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    11/5/2010 9:24:00 AM by Barbara Denman, Baptist Press | with 0 comments

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