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Waiting for Emily

August 2, 2011

Tropical storm Emily is moving steadily toward us and is expected to affect us by Thursday.  It is currently packing 50 mph (80 km/h) winds with gusts to 65 mph (100 km/h) and is expected to bring 4 to 6 inches of rainfall, with the possibility of 10 inches in some areas.  Due to Haiti’s deforested mountainous terrain, this could mean devastating flash floods and mud slides.  The storm surge is expected to raise water levels on the coast by 1 to 2 feet with large waves.  (Remember I live only a few feet from the ocean at only 7 feet above sea level.)

If Emily does her worst, for me it will be an adventure.  But for many here it could be disastrous.  Last Saturday night we had a fairly heavy rain, but nothing of any great consequence.  When I drove into Saint Marc on Sunday morning there were foot thick swaths of mud, rocks and garbage across the main street that had been washed down as rivers of water poured unimpeded out of the mountains.  In the street leading up to Barb’s home, water had carved trenches over a foot deep.  A house had collapsed nearby.  And this all occurred with only a moderate rainfall and no wind.

Many people here live in poorly built houses.  Few homes are weather tight.  Windows have no glass and most have no storm shutters.  On Sunday Barb and I took some of the children from the children’s home down the street from her to visit their families.  Many of them live along the ocean in houses that look like you could push them over without too much effort.  I can’t imagine what it would be like to be there in a storm.

Haiti has a tragic history when it comes to storms.  In 2004, Jeanne took over 3000 lives.  In 2008, Fay, Gustav, Hanna and Ike combined to leave over a thousand dead, and to destroy more than 22,000 homes and damage 85,000 more.  Less than a month ago 23 died when heavy rains hit Port-au-Prince.

Please pray for the people of Haiti.  They have seen enough death and misery.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. zoe webber permalink
    August 3, 2011 9:44 pm

    We will be thinking of and praying for all of you!!

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