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Evacuations in Haiti as Tropical Storm Approaches

November 4, 2010 at 5:50 PM EDT
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JEFFREY BROWN: Next: The unlucky nation of Haiti struggles to prepare, as a tropical storm heads its way. We start with a report narrated by Kylie Morris of Independent Television News.

KYLIE MORRIS: Here, they were meant to be safe. But, for Haiti’s refugees, anger and panic spilled over today as officials tried to organize them to leave their homes again. At this resettlement camp, the fear was authorities were trying to move them out permanently.

And then there was that other fear, that, really, there’s nowhere else to go. The government talks of more than 1,000 available shelters, a generous term for any building that survived the January earthquake with four walls. Aid groups, stretched by the recent cholera outbreak, are reorganizing, sending extra supplies to the areas forecast to bear the brunt of the winds and the rains.

Hurricane Tomas has been swirling over the Caribbean, around 400 miles southwest of Port-au-Prince for the past few days. It’s now projected to reach the southwestern tip of Haiti within the next few hours. The authorities have sent 130,000 text messages urging refugees, so many of whom lost everything in the January earthquake, to protect their important documents from the rain.

But it’s not only the storm itself the aid community fears. It’s the water that’s left behind and the possibility it might carry further the deadly spread of cholera.

DR. ILUSKA REYES, Haiti (through translator): Any rain can spread the disease. It will be bad for the patients. It will increase the number of patients.

KYLIE MORRIS: Already, cholera has killed more than 400 people and hospitalized 6,000.