27 September 2010
The Red Cross has been helping people after an unpredicted tropical storm hit Port-au-Prince on 24 September.
Five or six people were reportedly killed, and hundreds of temporary shelters destroyed. Red Cross ambulances transported injured survivors to hospital and emergency response teams, which were already in the country helping with earthquake recovery, have been visiting the worst-hit areas to assess damage and distribute immediate relief.
The camps the British Red Cross is working in were not badly affected.
Preparing for hurricanes and floods
A few weeks after a massive earthquake devastated the country in January, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement began preparing for hurricane season, which usually runs from June to November.
Part of the preparations involves storing emergency provisions – including shelter supplies – across the country so they can be quickly deployed.
A week before this storm hit, the Haitian Red Cross sent out text messages to 50,000 people on behalf of the Department of Civil Protection to warn people of possible storm surges along the north coast.
The message contained simply-worded advice to be ready to move to higher ground if necessary.
Marcel Goyeneche, a member of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies’ (IFRC) disaster preparedness team in Haiti, said: “In this kind of situation, simple information can prove life saving. By making people aware of potential dangers they can take steps to reduce their vulnerability.”
As the tropical storm a few days ago was unpredicted, communities didn’t have time to prepare for it. However, with pre-positioned relief supplies and hundreds of specialist relief workers in the country, the Red Cross was able to respond quickly.
More about the Haiti earthquake