Haiti Bracing for Tropical Storm; Jobless Claims Rise; Qantas Grounds A380s After Flames Shoot from Plane



A red flag at a relocation camp in Port-au-Prince warns Haitians of approaching Tropical Storm Tomas. Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images.

The Haitian government has called for the voluntary evacuation of all its earthquake zone camps ahead of Friday, when Tropical Storm Tomas is expected to land.

More than 1 million people live in Haiti’s earthquake camps. The government says there are roughly 1,000 shelters available.

The storm is likely to dump 15 inches of rain on the country, which could exacerbate an outbreak of cholera as tainted water spreads through flooding, reports Time’s Jessica Desvarieux in Port-Au-Prince.

“The International Organization for Migration (IOM), a humanitarian organization tasked with camp management, has run a cartoon-strip campaign in camps called “Run to your neighbor.” But, realistically speaking, most of the estimated 1.5 million people who are homeless and living in makeshift tents have nowhere to evacuate to.”

The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami announced a hurricane warning for Haiti and the southeastern Bahamas and Turks and Caicos. A tropical storm warning was issued for Jamaica, along with tropical storm watches for the southern coast of the Dominican Republic and eastern Cuba.

Early Thursday, Tropical Storm Tomas had maximum sustained winds of 50 mph.

Jobless Claims Jump

The number of people seeking jobless benefits rose sharply last week, after two straight weeks of declines. The Labor Department said Thursday that initial claims for unemployment aid rose by 20,000 to a seasonally adjusted 457,000 for the week ending Oct. 30.

French Official: Bomb Was 17 Minutes from Exploding

France’s interior minister Brice Hortefeux said Thursday that one of two mail bombs sent from Yemen last week was disarmed just 17 minutes before it was set to go off. He provided no other details in an interview on French television.

Drug Tunnel to Mexico Discovered in San Diego

U.S. officials raided a San Diego-area warehouse Wednesday and found a passageway 4 feet high and 1,800 feet long crossing into Tijuana, Mexico, the Los Angeles Times reports. Twenty-five tons of pot were found in warehouses on both sides of the border, one of the largest-ever drug seizures in San Diego, officials said.

The tunnel, which was equipped with lighting, ventilation and a crude rail system, connected two warehouses: a small, two-story concrete structure in Tijuana and a 23,000-square-foot warehouse in San Diego.

Qantas Grounds Superjumbo Jet After Emergency Landing

Qantas grounded its fleet of Airbus A380s after one of the superjumbo jets blew out an engine Thursday with 459 people aboard, shooting flames before making a safe emergency landing in Singapore.

The plane was just minutes out of Singapore’s Changi Airport when one of the engines exploded, raining debris down on Indonesia’s Batam Island. The Australian Broadcasting Corporation has complete coverage here.

More video and images at the New York Times.