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Haiti - Tomas : Overview
05/11/2010 11:08:00

Haiti - Tomas : Overview
After deciding to close schools until Monday, government officials announced late Thursday afternoon, closing the main institutions

Friday, most businesses, banks, embassies are closed. Thursday, people flocked to supermarkets to stock, by late afternoon most of the shelves were empty. Gas stations have experienced record crowds.

Port-au-Prince Airport:
The international airport of Port-au-Prince has canceled all its flights until next Saturday. Flights to and from the Toussaint Louverture Airport were suspended from Thursday's 10pm (Haiti time) until 07:00am Saturday.

American Airlines announced that all its flights and those from American Eagle are canceled. Regular operations should resume on Saturday morning but only for confirmed passengers.

Municipal authorities in the metropolitan area of Port-au-Prince declared themselves ready to face the hurricane.

Jean-Max Bellerive said that same if Friday is off, all staff are mobilized, if necessary.

Paul Antoine Bien-Aime, Minister of Interior has indicated that special attention is paid to regions of Cabaret and Gonaives (north) very vulnerable to flooding.

Jacques Gabriel, Minister of Public Works assured that all departmental directors are available for civil protection with all necessary material.

Alex Larsen, the Minister of Health has warned that the situation could worsen if the people refuse to follow authorities instructions, because of the cholera epidemic that hit the country.

As the Minister of Finance, said making sure that all departments have all the funds they need.

IDP Camps :
Only in Port-au-Prince, 42 camps have been identified at risk. Jean Yves Jason, the mayor of Port-au-Prince called the 400 000 inhabitants living in areas at risk to follow the advice of city officials who might seek to move to temporary shelters.

The Direction of Civil Protection (DPC) continued all day Thursday to strengthen, prepare its teams and mobilize resources to assist potential victims.

Alta Jean Baptiste, the head of Civil tection said that there are already many voluntary evacuations, but that many people living in camps are refusing to leave, she calls for understanding. Refugees do not want to leave the few possessions they have left or believe that such evacuations are evictions.

Nadia Lochard, the Emergency Preparedness Coordinator for the department of the West, recognizes that the evacuation operations are very difficult "people are afraid of being permanently expelled from camps"

All day of Thursday at Camp Corail Cesselesse (north of the capital) the refugees refused to leave their tents despite intensive negotiations. Just under one third of the camp (2,000 people) have been evacuated to safe shelters.

Thirty buses are available to allow the evacuation of people living in areas at risk.

Civil Protection advises that in the temporary shelters, there will not be enough seats for everyone, priority will be given to those most vulnerable including the elderly, infants, pregnant women and sick.

In the IDP camps, the refugees say live in fear at the approach of Tomas "Civil Protection informed us that she can not take care of all the people and asks us to take refuge with relatives or friends, but we have nowhere to go" said a refugee from the Champ de Mars which stresses that all his friends and family, like most people in the camps are also survivors "Our hands are empty, we are not able to make preparations at the approach of Tomas, come what may" says a mother of 3 children at the Parc Sainte-Therese Petion Ville, which puts his life in the hands of God as most victims who do not know where to go...

Most refugees are huddled in the darkness of their tent and rely on God.

Patrick Joseph, one of the leaders of the Civil Protection section of the Town Hall in Port-au-Prince said that people living in coastal areas are most at risk.

climate conditions:
Red vigilance maintained throughout Haiti.

Tomas became doubly dangerous by becoming a hurricane, since we must now take into account the heavy rainfall and sustained winds of 135 km/h (85 mph) with higher gusts.

According to forecasts, Tomas could produce on a large portion of Haiti, an accumulation of total rainfall of 127-254 mm (5-10 inches). These rains could cause mudslides in mountainous terrain, landslides and floods and cause extensive flooding. 1 mm of rain corresponds to 1 liter of water by square meter.

B> The area of influence of strong winds extending up to 220 km (140 mi) from the center of the hurricane, with sustained winds of 135 km/h (85 mph) combined with heavy rainfall. Depending on the trajectory, few cities in the country will be spared.

Actually the hurricane center Tomas is located at:

64 km (40 mi) of Jérémie
120 km (75 mi) of Les Cayes
214 km (133 mi) of Saint-Marc
255 km (160 mi) of Port-au-Prince
237 km (148 mi) of Jacmel
237 km (147 mi) of Kingston (Jamaica)
130 km (80 mi) of Guantanamo (Cuba)

If the planned trajectory and speed of Tomas do not change on Friday at 2pm Tomas will be:

129 km (80 mi) of Jérémie
177 km (110 mi) of Cayes
147 km (91 mi) of Saint-Marc
217 km (135 mi) of Port-au-Prince
226 km (140 mi) of Jacmel
180 km (112 mi) of Cap Haïtien
133 km (83 mi) of Gonaïves
55 km (34 mi) of Môle Saint-Nicolas

Hurricane Tomas will pass, during the day (between this morning is this afternoon 14:00) at:

114km (71mi) of Port-de-Paix
194km (120mi) of Léogâne
109km (68mi) of the island of Gonâve

Any navigation at sea, is prohibited. The situation this Friday:

Zone Coastal North :
Wind southerly : over : 55 km/h (30 nodes)
Wave height : 1,50 to 2,40 m (6 to 8 feet) until 4 m (15 feet) friday night;

Gulf of Gonave :
Wind south-southeast : 74-92 km/h (40-50 nodes)
Wave height : 2,40- 3 m (8-10 feet) until 3-10 m to 4.80 m (16 feet) friday night;

Zone Coastal South :
Variable wind : 55-92 km/h (30-50 nodes)
Wave height : 3-4,80 m (10 to 16 feet)

Follow our bulletins "last hour" throughout the day.

HL/ HaitiLibre

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