Posted by Karl Johnson on Aug 27, 2012
Related program: Haiti Rebuilding Center
As Tropical Storm Isaac bears down on the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean nations are recovering from its heavy rains. In some places, flood waters have to subside completely, and inventories of losses be made, before recovery can begin.
"The scale of devastation was less than many people had feared," the New York Times reports. Still, 10 deaths in Hispaniola resulted due to the storm–8 casualties in Haiti, 2 in the Dominican Republic. 14,000 Haitians have evacuated their homes. The Grise River, to the north of Port-au-Prince, flooded streets to waist height on Saturday, dropping to shin height by Sunday.
Darren Gill, Architecture for Humanity's Haiti Program Manager, relates impacts on our work:
"[A]s we understand it, there was/is flooding in various parts of the city including Tabarre and Cité Soleil. Rivers burst their banks in a few locations. Civil defense teams were quite responsive which is a really encouraging sign of the government's ability to respond.... EdH [Haiti electric company] has been out fixing lines (I heard that 30 of the 32 circuits in PaP were knocked out). Tent camps across the city were affected with many simply being blown away. Various NGOs are responding to the situations in camps. Though flooding was definitely the bigger issue....
"Our personnel and sites are OK. One member of staff had their house flooded when a perimeter wall collapsed due to flood pressure. No major damage to our project sites, though I'm still waiting to hear back from Pele, just another logistical/schedule delay to which Haiti is prone.
"The big thing this highlights is just how vulnerable [Port-au-Prince] is. This was a storm that passed nearly 100km away yet still caused damage. If it had been a hurricane as previously anticipated we'd be looking at another emergency humanitarian response. However, that's no different to Haiti pre-earthquake if you consider what happened in Caberet and Gonaive in 2008."
Mr. Gill notes that updates on disaster are being posted continuously in the media and on Twitter, especially from Haiti correspondents like @TrentonDaniel of the Associated Press.