HAVANA TIMES, Nov. 2 — The Haiti Libre website reported Monday (see below) on the preparations being taken as Tropical Storm Tomas churns in the central Caribbean en route for a projected landing in Haiti or the Dominican Republic by Friday or Saturday.
Events in Haiti take on special concern for Cubans with several hundred of the island’s medical personal working in the neighboring country since long before the devastating January 12 earthquake.
While currently a Tropical Storm, both the National Hurricane Center (NHC) in Miami and the Cuban Meteorology Institute (INSMET) are predicting the weather system could regain hurricane status before touching land.
HAITI 72 HOURS BEFORE THE ARRIVAL OF TOMAS (*)
Haitian authorities have asked the hundreds of thousands of Haitians living in tent camps, to begin the evacuation.
“We have launched an appeal for voluntary evacuation, particularly in the camps,” said Alta Jean-Baptiste, the director of the Haiti’s Civil Protection Office “We have plans to evacuate the camps but we won’t be able to evacuate everybody.”
According to the National Hurricane Center (NHC), based in Miami (Florida), Tomas, a hurricane downgraded from Category 1 to a tropical storm, expected to strengthen again and could hit Haiti in the next 72 hours
On Monday, President Rene Preval visited the south, one of the most threatened areas, to mobilize rescue teams from Emergency Preparedness.
For its part, the International Red Cross has sent material in 13 localities in Haiti to assist 25,000 families “Our emergency teams are ready to react to distribute aid and prepare people to respond and find shelters to protect themselves,” said Sophie Chavenel spokeswoman for the International Red Cross.
The UN has ordered the urgent delivery on Monday, of shelters and food in some areas of Haiti, where up to 500,000 people could be affected by Tomas.
The National Centre for Meteorology (NCM) said that the center of Tropical Storm Tomas has been located at 1500 GMT at 13.6 degrees north latitude and 68.7 degrees west longitude, about 150 km north-northeast of Curacao and 675 km southeast of Port-au-Prince (745 km from Les Cayes). The storm is currently moving westward at 22 km/h. A decrease in speed is still expected in the next 24 hours. According to various forecast models, the system will change direction by taking a path towards north by Wednesday to directly aim the southern peninsula of Haiti and the remaining departments of the country. With this trajectory, there is no doubt that throughout the Republic of Haiti will be included in the envelope of high winds and heavy rains from Wednesday evening through Friday.
Consequently, the Permanent Secretariat of Risk Management and Disaster (Secrétariat Permanent de Gestion des Risques et des Désastres SPGRD) keeps this Monday, November 1st, 2010 at 10:00 am the orange alert level (impact risk, moderate to severe) vis-a-vis the threats of strong rains, gusty winds and thunderstorms, scattered showers with a risk of flooding and river flooding, landslides and flooding, moderate to strong, especially for the departments of South-East, South, Nippes, Grande Anse and West.
(*) reprinted with permission of Haiti Libre