Hurricane’s impact not as great as first feared in Haiti quake zone

An earthquake survivor looks at the rain in the early morning in a provisional camp in downtown Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Nov. 5. (CNS/Reuters)

Hurricane Tomas seems to have spared much of the area in Haiti most devastated by the Jan. 12 earthquake from serious damage and major flooding as of mid-afternoon Friday.

The sun was shining over the capital of Port-au-Prince even though hundreds of thousands of people remaining in hundreds of tattered tent camps are wet and muddy.

Scott Campbell, country director Catholic Relief Services in Haiti, reported that the rain was intermittent overnight and into this morning and was not nearly as bad as first feared, according to Robyn Fieser, the agency’s regional information officer based in neighboring Dominican Republic.

Relief teams were assessing damage in the Grand Anse and South departments on the southern peninsula, which absorbed the worst of the storm.

Fieser told Catholic News Service that some coastal homes were flooded in the communities of Les Irois and Anse d’Hainault in westernmost Haiti.

“Right now the teams in the south are trying to get a sense of how many people are in temporary shelters and where, and will be providing support depending on what they find in the next 24 hours,” she wrote in a mid-afternoon e-mail.

Haiti isn’t totally free of the storm’s wrath yet. Hurricane warnings remained posted in the afternoon as winds and rains continued over much of the country.

Concerns also remain that swollen rivers, creeks and tributaries may carry cholera from the Artibonite Department, north of Port-au-Prince, to other parts of the country.

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