August 23rd, 2012
01:06 PM ET

Isaac threatens to bring more destruction, cholera to Haiti

Tent camps dot the streets in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. The shelters, sometimes just draped tarps, are all that stand between residents and Mother Nature.

More than 400,000 of those residents live in the tents, all they've called home since a 7.0-magnitude earthquake rocked the Haitian capital in 2010, reducing many of of the structures in the capital and its suburbs to rubble.

Two years removed from the earthquake, Haitians are praying again. This time, they hope they will be spared Tropical Storm Isaac, which appears to be headed straight for them.

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The country is still trying to battle back from a deadly cholera outbreak after the 2010 earthquake. So as the storm threatens to bring winds of about 74 mph and 12 inches of rain, the challenges are mounting. The U.S. National Hurricane Center warned that the rain could cause life-threatening flash floods and mudslides.

Aid organizations are preparing for the worst.

"We watch those storms every single time they come near because Haiti is so vulnerable," said Amy Parodi, a spokeswoman for the Christian humanitarian organization World Vision.

The agency has met with the government in previous summers to discuss contingency plans for major storms, and pre-positioned relief items are available, she said.

Haiti has always been a susceptible to hurricanes, even before the earthquake. It is right in the middle of “hurricane alley” in the Caribbean.

Photos: Haiti’s children two years after the earthquake

When hurricanes dump rain on the slopes of its deforested mountains - some more than 8,000 feet high - mudslides are the result. Living at the base of these mountains, in tents and poorly constructed houses, are hundreds of thousands of people.

"Our experience in Haiti clearly indicates that it is not the storm or the winds, it’s the rain that causes the problems," said Sinan Al-Najjar, the Red Cross' deputy country representative in Haiti. "When rain comes, landslides and flash floods do happen in Haiti. We are trying to focus on which are the flood areas, which are the risk areas."

With flood waters come the risk of another outbreak of cholera, an infection of the large intestine that causes severe diarrhea.

"After floods, it's going to be almost certain that we see increases in cholera cases," Al-Najjar said. "We already witnessed that with the few weeks of rain we had in April. We had spikes due to daily rain. If a flood comes, we know certainly cholera is going to be an issue."

Al-Najjar said there are workers on standby in the area prepared to deliver any necessary medical attention, including supplies for more than 15,000 people who may present symptoms of cholera. He added that they are also prepared to purify more than 800,000 gallons of water. The Red Cross has teams on standby to help distribute any aid that may be necessary and warehouse facilities as stocked as they can be.

Haiti's cholera outbreak in October 2010 killed more than 7,000 people and sickened more than 500,000, according to Nigel Fisher, the United Nations' humanitarian coordinator in Haiti.

In March, Fisher warned that the existing camps would probably be "exposed to cholera outbreaks and risks of flooding that will be exacerbated by the upcoming rainy and hurricane season from May to November."

Even if the decision to evacuate these vulnerable areas happens, Al-Najjar said, a large problem is the lack of evacuation centers in Haiti.

Which means many Haitians may have nowhere to go as the storm moves ashore.

"A lot of people don’t have safe houses," Al-Najjar said. "And they are going to certainly need help in case of heavy rains or strong winds. There is a lack of evacuation places and lack of shelters. That's something we're going to have to deal with."

soundoff (186 Responses)
  1. nasa1

    Figures released by the UN special envoy for Haiti show that only 53% of the nearly $4.5bn pledged for reconstruction projects in 2010 and 2011 was delivered after the 2010 earthquake.

    August 23, 2012 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • snowdogg

      nasa1

      So what did they do with the rest of the money?

      August 23, 2012 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Aud

      Some of the countries (I don't have specifics) reneged on their pledge, for some reason or another.

      August 23, 2012 at 6:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • nostrildamus

      Almost always happens unfortunately.

      August 23, 2012 at 7:42 pm | Report abuse |
  2. the_dude

    Countries like haiti or any other african natino NEED colonialism. They need a western power to control them otherwise they will dorwn themselves in their own stupidity. This is where the world got things wrong. Colonialism and imperialism actually benefited these 3rd world crud holes.

    August 23, 2012 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • WDinDallas

      Yep...clean it up and make it a resort state.

      August 23, 2012 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      Clean it up and build some casinos!!!

      August 23, 2012 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • nasa1

      We send a space craft to Mars to determine if intelligent life ever existed there. We need to send a space craft to Haiti for the same reason.

      August 23, 2012 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Alex

    Time for another self-promoting, celebrity-hosted fundraiser, where all the money will mysteriously disappear or never go to any good use!

    August 23, 2012 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
  4. nasa1

    You give a man a fish and he will never learn to fish.

    August 23, 2012 at 4:44 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Paul

    So we are supposed to care why? They live on some small island in the middle of nowhere. Why not apply for US statehood and let us put troops and rebuild it correctly?

    I am sure they would vote for President Obama

    August 23, 2012 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
  6. dan

    You know the celebrities that visited had to have there appearance fees, no telling how much money Sean Penn made off that disaster.

    August 23, 2012 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
  7. stevel

    sorry two years and living in tents......have no compassion for them....like the people of New Orleans, just looking for had outs, never take responsibility for themselves.....

    In the wild they tell you not to feed the animals, or they become dependant on these handouts.....they would all make good democrats!!

    August 23, 2012 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • don415

      ever been to Haiti?...............trust me....tents are condos for most of the population!

      August 23, 2012 at 6:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Likeitis

      Great analogy.

      Not just haitian animals either. The more we feed and support africans, the more they breed with no planning for the future.

      Same goes for african immigrants in western countries that devour social welfare monies and breed like crazy.

      August 23, 2012 at 8:29 pm | Report abuse |
  8. arthur uzo

    99.9% of those money was used to pay the Charities top excutives. Its big business. Its bigger CNN

    August 23, 2012 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • kdmquito

      Wrong! Where is your fact coming from?!

      August 24, 2012 at 12:08 am | Report abuse |
  9. Pete

    i had to deal with hatians and hati from the early to mid 90's while in the army. I spent over 12 months in hati in 94 and 95 and realized that the people and the country are not worth the effort. they want everything for free their greedy and think the world is supposed take care of them. when i first started dealing with them i felt sorry for them and at the end of my time dealing with them i hated them. i mean truley hated them. port au prince is the armpit of the world!!!

    August 23, 2012 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alan

      It's spelled Haiti.

      August 23, 2012 at 6:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Not a Scholar

      @Alan Please forgive him. He was, after all, ARMY...

      August 23, 2012 at 7:39 pm | Report abuse |
  10. dotheflippin'math

    Wow, loads of racist stupidity here. Beam me up, Scotty...

    August 23, 2012 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • teresa

      Sick of libtards race baiting. Are you guys not creative enough to invent a new game???

      August 23, 2012 at 6:35 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Raz

    Let them wear cake.

    August 23, 2012 at 6:14 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Mandor

    "...When hurricanes dump rain on the slopes of its deforested mountains – some more than 8,000 feet high – mudslides are the result. Living at the base of these mountains, in tents and poorly constructed houses, are hundreds of thousands of people..."

    My first reaction was wait, WHY THE HECK are these mountains deforested? Then I remembered how skilled the human race is at being short-sighted. The lumber was probably cut down for a few bucks today, or to clear the land for mining or some other commercial use. And the people who live down below probably had absolutely no power and no say. Or they were recruited to help do the work, and they had to take the job becuase even if it might cause problems next year, they needed a job to feed their families today... Ugh.

    August 23, 2012 at 6:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • BlameYT

      blame other people?? 7 year old white children are smart enough to not live permanently in a tent under a mudslide.

      please accept reality that melanin and intelligence are highly correlated

      August 23, 2012 at 8:34 pm | Report abuse |
  13. and ur point is?

    sounds like a bunch of republicans on this page......smfh.

    August 23, 2012 at 6:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Not a Scholar

      To me it sounds like a bunch of realists. Any financial adviser is smart enough to know when dumping money on a useless cause will only bankrupt you. Haiti is, at this point, a useless cause. Sure, the people are not useless. But the country is. It provides no contribution to the world other than the need for others to rescue it. The island has been plagued with natural catastrophes for many years and the people are not smart enough to GET OFF the island. Instead they leach off the rest of the generous world to survive.

      August 23, 2012 at 7:43 pm | Report abuse |
  14. mr774

    Haiti is a no-winter country.
    So pp can live in homeless condition.
    Live in high places and wash hands when eating food.
    It's easy ways to protect themselves from flood and cholera.

    August 23, 2012 at 7:44 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Billy

    Looks like the rain is a good opportunity to clean things up a bit, since they choose to throw trash where-ever.

    August 23, 2012 at 7:54 pm | Report abuse |
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