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Haiti - Climate : Preparations for the beginning of the hurricane season
06/05/2011 11:29:16

Haiti - Climate : Preparations for the beginning of the hurricane season
In Haiti, the hurricane season begins, like every year on June 1 and ends November 30. The Minustah, the Government and some international organizations are preparing an information campaign to be launched on June 1, 2011, during this campaign flyers with photos will be distributed to the public. In 2010, 16 hurricanes are came close to the country without doing too much damage, according to Marie Mirlène Ladouceur, of the Section of Humanitarian Affairs and Development (HDCS) of the Minustah. Like last year, numerous hurricanes are expected, if their number can be estimated, it is not easy to estimate their intensity and the areas that they will affect.

A National Contingency Plan, updated annually, is used to define areas at risk, to estimate the resources, temporary shelters, assess and prepositioned stocks, and this with the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). The departments most vulnerable are typically those of the West, Artibonite, South, Southeast and Grand Anse.

For the actors involved in the preparation of the hurricane season, awareness is a priority. In the past, emphasis was placed on the behavior and guidance. This year, in addition to instructions, it is planned to prepare a family emergency kit containing the products necessary for survival during a week like flashlights, food and medicines, among others.

As reported Lohic Alain d'Almeida, Regional Coordinator responsible of the HDCS "to minimize flood risk, optimize the resilience of vulnerable populations, facilitate the delivery of humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, the section HDCS and departmental directorates of the Ministry of Public Works Transport and Communication (MTPTC) have identified some sections of priority roads to be rehabilitated by the military engineers of the Minustah in the areas most vulnerable, including some work of cleaning of rivers.

The rehabilitation of damaged road sections should allow access to flooded areas and facilitate the passage of humanitarian convoys. During the month of April, military engineers of the Minustah have executed eight projects to help mitigate the effects of recent heavy rains and reduce the risk of effects of future hurricanes. Drainage works were carried out in IDP camps, roads were repaired, bridges strengthened and the irrigation canals were put in place. As an example we can cite Leogane where Korean engineering company has cleaned up an area of approximately 14 kilometers from the river Rouyonne which is usually the cause of floods of this city in the past."

In addition, last month, the military have conducted an exercise inter-agency of response to natural disasters in the cities of Port-au-Prince, Leogane and the Gonaives. These three cities could be affected during the next hurricane season of 2011. "It was an exercise that brought together participants at national and regional levels. This exercise gave us the opportunity to work together, to learn from our responsibilities in case of natural disasters and how to better coordinate and communicate with each other in the case of a real disaster. It was a success and we expect two more in the coming months." advised Claire Berthiaume, Lieutenant Commander and Deputy Spokesman of the Minustah.

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