Storm-weary Haiti braces for the rain

Published on 01 June 2009

Heavy rains this year already have killed at least 11 people, and left more than 600 newly homeless. Rains in the southeast washed out a critical road that a U.N. World Food Program (WFP) truck used to deliver food to Baie d'Orange, where dozens of children died last year from storm-related malnutrition. WFP is now trying to find other means of reaching the isolated community. In the Artibonite Valley, where barren mountain slopes surrounding Gonaives have left the city vulnerable to lethal flash floods, recent rains triggered such a panic that residents ran to rooftops and into the hills. The city, which sits like a clogged bathtub, has the added problem of bad drainage and accumulated earth that quickly turns to mud. ''The season could be very tough,'' said Myrta Kaulard, the WFP representative. ``Because people and infrastructure have not recovered yet from last year and are more vulnerable, a small rain can have the impact of a storm.''

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