Haiti Braces for Tomas
November 4, 2010—After ten months of struggling to recover from a devastating earthquake in January, the people in Haiti are doing what they can to brace themselves against Tropical Storm Tomas. More than 1 million people remain displaced from the earthquake, most of them living in tents. Tomas is quickly gaining strength and expected to strike Haiti on Friday. The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) staff in Haiti and in the US are working with partners to identify and respond to the immediate needs.
According to UMCOR executive Thomas Dwyer, shelter is one of the most urgent concerns. Women, children, the elderly and disabled are being evacuated from the Corail resettlement camp. UMCOR is coordinating with the Corail camp management to provide shelter for men who are still without appropriate shelter. “UMCOR has nine school buildings in the Corail Camp that were built to be hurricane resistant. Using classrooms for temporary shelter is one way we are preparing for the storm,” says Dwyer.
United Methodist Volunteers in Mission serving in Haiti have been evacuated from their work sites and will stay in the Methodist Guest House in Port-au-Prince until it is safe for them to resume their work.
UMCOR’s disaster response unit is also monitoring the storm and preparing to respond to the aftermath as necessary. Says disaster response executive Melissa Crutchfield, “We are in touch with the Methodist Church of Haiti and as part of our ongoing partnership, we will work with them to assess the damage and the needs once the storm passes.”
Tomas is expected to cause extensive flooding and trigger mudslides from the deforested hillsides – creating life threatening situations for those in resettlement camps. Cholera has been a growing concern in recent weeks and the United Nations is predicting the storm will create an environment that will spread the disease.
“UMCOR continues to stand with our brothers and sisters in Haiti. We are lifting up prayers, especially for the most vulnerable people as they prepare to face Tropical Storm Tomas,” says UMCOR head Cynthia Fierro Harvey.
How to Help
UMCOR will partner with the people of Haiti for years to come. Gifts to support UMCOR's work can be made online by visiting www.umcorhaiti.org. For gifts by mail, please make checks payable to UMCOR and mail to UMCOR, PO Box 9068, New York, NY 10087. Please indicate Haiti Emergency, UMCOR Advance #418325 on the memo line of your check. One hundred percent of gifts made to this advance will help the people of Haiti.