"The living room has turned into a pool." Our Haiti series field producer, Jenny Elie, posted this as a rain storm struck Haiti last night. Elie, we should note, lives in a solid house, not a tent, and is grateful for that. But not even an hour after saying "ever so grateful for a dry, secure place to live," Elie was bailing out her living room. The Haitian government estimates 11 people are dead as a result of the storm last night. Keep in mind the rainy season now hitting Haiti (about a week after the controversial USAID report that questioned the number of displaced persons living in camps) comes as cholera deaths, too, are on the rise again. During one week after May 29, MSF/Doctors Without Borders said they treated nearly 2,000 patients in Port-au-Prince.
Ernz Louis, who is involved with a Haitian NGO (and featured in this episode), tapped out, "It's scary what I see now with the rain."
It was called an "area of disturbed weather," and for hours, the play-by-play rolling out over Facebook and Twitter increasingly became urgent:
@melindayiti Baradè is flooded &one person already dead, the areas of Carradeux, Chanmas, Fontamara, La Saline &National Theater are flooded.
@TANOU80 I am a mom, I know I always fight to protect my son! How those moms under the tents feel, seeing your kids getting soaked & feeling helpless
@MissionMANNA 1st violent rainstorm of season= tent camps under 4ft of water, mudslides, ppl dead/missing & hospital overcapacity
Just another routine tragedy for Haiti? Well, not exactly. If anything, this highlights the ongoing situation that we found in Haiti in November: what Refugees International has called "emergency paralysis."
What do mothers in the tent cities do with their children when it rains? We addressed this in episode three: