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Tomas claims 20 lives in Haiti

CAROL MARTINDALE, [email protected]

Tomas claims 20 lives in Haiti

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PORT AU PRINCE, Haiti, CMC – Haiti’s Civil Protection Department Monday said at least 20 people were killed when Hurricane Tomas passed near the French-speaking Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country over the weekend.
It said that seven persons were reported missing and dozens more injured.
The hurricane struck Haiti’s southern peninsula on Friday and traveled up the coast, triggering floods and landslides. But its strongest winds and rain stayed far to the west of the capital, sparing most of the encampments where an estimated 1.3 million people have been living since the January 12 earthquake killed more than 300,000 people and left more than a million others homeless.
Teams from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) were on Monday assessing the needs in the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince, and other areas hit by the hurricane.
Heavy rain from the hurricane caused flooding in the country’s five southern departments and in other regions including Artibonite, Centre, North West, and the communities of Léogane and Gressier, west of Port-au-Prince. UNICEF said it is working with the Department of Civil Protection (DPC) and other UN agencies and partners to respond to the most urgent needs. “Our immediate goal is to assess the impacts of the storm and prioritize our response and coordination efforts to ensure access to adequate sanitation, safe water, and basic health care,” said Francoise Gruloos-Ackermans, UNICEF Representative in Haiti.
“It is also imperative in responding to emergencies such as this that separated and unaccompanied children, who are most at risk during emergencies, are protected and reunited with their families,” added Ms. Gruloos-Ackermans, who assessed the hurricane-stricken area of Jérémie at the south western tip of Haiti.
UNICEF said it would be working to ensure the safe evacuation and relocation of children from flooded areas, safeguarding schools and school supplies, protecting children in camps for those displaced from January’s earthquake and orphanages.