Haitian authorities on Wednesday urged the residents to the greatest vigilance before the arrival of Tropical Storm Erika scheduled for the weekend mobilizing to anticipate the often devastating weather in the poorest country in the Caribbean.
At the operations center and a national emergency in Port-au-Prince, satellite images of the region are projected on the walls and the evolution of the storm analyzed with each new update.
“The center of Erika should rise on the north coast of the Dominican Republic and Haiti this weekend,” said Ronald Semelfort, director of the National Meteorological Centre (CNM).
“The whole country is threatened by heavy winds and rains that also if they are not cyclone intensity, are dangerous enough for us,” he added.
The storm is currently located 315 km east of the island of Antigua and is moving west-northwest at a speed of 28 km / h, with sustained winds reaching 75 km / h, has Detailed US National Hurricane Centre (NHC) in Miami, on the east coast of the United States.
Plagued by poverty, Haiti is highly vulnerable to weather. The poorest families live in areas at risk, nearby gullies made for drainage. In the absence of an effective system of garbage collection, these routes are mostly congested, increasing the risk of flooding.
“We invite people to move as soon as possible to their families” out of vulnerable areas, warned Marie Alta Jean-Baptiste, director of civil protection, ensuring that its crews were working to raise awareness and to identify areas of high flood risk.
“The goal is that there is no loss of life,” she concluded.
Civil Protection, Red Cross and Haitian authorities coordinate their preventive work, while standing ready to open temporary shelters, traditionally held in schools, churches and public buildings.
Since 2008, no hurricane has hit Haiti, but because of the vulnerability of the population, simple tropical storms were enough to cause deadly floods.
In October 2012, before becoming a cyclone hit the northern coast of the United States, Sandy storm killed 60 people in Haiti and destroyed more than 18,000 homes across the country.