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.

Forbes puts pope in top 10 most powerful people

VATICAN CITY — Forbes magazine doesn’t mind searching far and wide for compiling its roundup of the world’s most powerful men and women.

Pope Benedict XVI is seen with Russia's President Vladimir Putin during a meeting at the Vatican 2007. Forbes magazine ranked Putin and the pope the 4th and 5th most powerful people in the world. ( CNS photo/Andrew Medichini, Reuters)

Pope Benedict XVI made #5, behind Chinese President Hu Jintao, U.S. President Barack Obama, Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz al Saud, and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

Last year, the pope placed 11th on the list, right behind Bill Gates III.

Forbes cast a wide enough net this year to include people who use their power for unjust and immoral ends like Osama bin Laden, who made #57, and, at  #60, the head of Mexico’s Sinaloa cartel, which is the largest cocaine supplier to the U.S.

Here’s the magazine’s rationale for how and why they chose who they did.