[Miami Herald] A weekend of torrential rains and widespread flooding in Haiti have left at least 30 people dead, nine missing and over 13,300 homeless, the government’s disaster response agency said. The Office of Civil Protection said the weather also left at least 7,475 families affected, and flooded at least 7,500 homes across several regional departments.
The city of Léogâne, just south of Port-au-Prince, was most affected. The city also registered at least 11 deaths, Jerry Chandler, the head of the Office of Civil Protection, said Monday. “The biggest impact was the West region,” Chandler said, referring to the area that encompasses the capital. Other regions in the environmentally vulnerable country that saw heavy damage were: the Northwest; the Nippes; and the Southeast, where a boat capsized Saturday morning that resulted in the death of two passengers. Fourteen others were rescued.
“In the Center department, the agricultural sector is very impacted,” the agency said in a statement. Also affected is a bridge that was submerged from overflowing river waters, and several roads have also been cut off by flooding and boulders. While the damage assessment is ongoing, Chandler said emergency response teams are mobilized and trying to support affected communities. Along with United Nations aid groups, Civil Protection volunteers are slowly deploying shelter, food and sanitary facilities, and drinking water to those affected. The heavy rains, which began on Friday, occurred just days into the start of this year’s Atlantic hurricane season.
Chandler told the Miami Herald last week that while they had managed to increase training and improve communication coverage so they can get real-time information from their volunteers as disaster strikes, they have been unable to get supplies due to the ongoing gang violence. On Monday, he said security remains a concern as they “timidly” try to respond to the disaster while also trying to maneuver through gang-controlled territories to get help to the population.