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Haiti - Tomas : Double risk for Haiti
03/11/2010 16:35:30

Haiti - Tomas : Double risk for Haiti
The center of Tropical Depression Tomas is re-forming and could become, if it strengthens, a tropical storm in the next 48 hours.

Tropical Depression Tomas is centered about 505 km (315 miles) southwest of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and about 395 km (245 miles) south-southeast of Kingston, Jamaica, at latitude 14.8 north and longitude 75.0 west, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami (NHC).

Tropical Depression Tomas has maximum sustained winds of 56 km/h (35 mph) and is moving north-northwest at 11km/h (7 mph).

Satellite imagery and preliminary data from an Air Force Reserve hurricane hunter aircraft indicate that the center of Tomas is re-forming to the northeast of its previous location. A turn toward the north is expected over the next 48 hours, and the center of Tomas could approach Haiti on Friday. This new path could be more dangerous as it would go much nearer to the capital Port-au-Prince. The new trajectory is being developed and should probably be available in the coming hours.

As we previously mentioned, the danger of Tomas does not come from the strength of its winds, but the importance of its precipitation and its slow movement. According to available forecasts, Tomas could produce on a large portion of Haiti, an accumulation of total rainfall of 127-254 mm (5-10 inches).

1 mm of rain corresponds to 1 liter of water by square meter. In some isolated places, precipitations could reach up to 381 mm (15 inches). These rains could cause mudslides in the mountainous terrain, mudslides, landslides and cause flood and major flooding.

In addition to direct hazards associated with these rains, these last represent an important additional risk for the cholera epidemic. Contaminated rivers in flood, can spread the cholera bacteria through whole regions and cause a health crisis of great magnitude, which nobody can predict the consequences. In addition, floods and their impact on road infrastructure, will make much more difficult and slower access to patients suffering from cholera in need of urgent care. Lastly, certain structures of care could be threatened and require the displacement of patients, suffering from cholera, will imply a delicate logistics in the circumstances.

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