News / Americas

Heavy Rains Soak Haiti

Scene at a tent city in Port-au-Prince
Scene at a tent city in Port-au-Prince

Heavy rains have soaked Haiti, raising fears about flooding and the spread of disease among the estimated one million people left homeless by last month's earthquake.

Reports early Thursday from the capital, Port-au-Prince, say the homeless were drenched by the overnight rains, as few had more than bed sheets strung over poles for shelter.

The United Nations and other aid agencies say the rains are an indication of what can be expected from the rainy season that begins in just weeks.  

They say shelter and sanitation are the two greatest concerns.  Aid workers are rushing to try to set up more permanent shelters.

The aid organization CARE says it is working to build latrines, because the disposal of human waste is a serious problem that will only worsen with the rain and standing water.

On Wednesday, government officials said the death toll from the January 12 earthquake is estimated between 217,000 and 230,000.

The Haitian government has declared Friday, February 12, a day of mourning to mark one month since the 7.0 magnitude quake struck the Western Hemisphere's poorest country.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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