Haiti Waits For Tropical Storm Tomas; Landslides And Flooding Expected
November 5, 2010 By Staff
Today in Latin America
Top Story — Rains from Tropical Storm Tomas began battering Haiti Thursday, as thousands of people wait in makeshift tents and prepare for the risks of deadly flooding and landslides.
Tomas strengthened Thursday night and began to lean toward the low-lying southwestern coast of the country. Port-au-Prince and much of the country lay under the “dirty” side of a system that brings with it a string of thunderstorms.
The storm could form into a full blown hurricane, with winds reaching 75 miles an hour and 5 inches of rain expected in some areas.
The destruction that the storm could cause has many health workers worried about the possible risks it could cause, especially as Haiti is in the midst of a cholera epidemic.
“Protect your lives,” Haitian President René Préval said, on national radio Thursday, according to The BBC.
Haiti’s civil protection department has asked people living in the country’s many post-quake settlement camps to go to the homes of friends and family. There are an estimated 1.3 million homeless people in Haiti.
“I’m scared that if I leave they’ll tear this whole place down. I don’t have money to pay for a home somewhere else,” said Clarice Napoux, 21, who lives on a soccer field behind the St. Therese church in Petionville, according to The Associated Press.
Other Top News: Former Colombian President Álvaro Uribe has been called by a U.S. Court to testify in a case filed by Colombian victims of paramilitary violence against Drummond, a coal mining company (link in Spanish).
Just Published at the Latin America News Dispatch
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- National Public Radio reported last week that the private prison industry played a key role in the crafting of Arizona’s controversial immigration law. Molly O’Toole, who interviewed Arizona State Senator Russell Pearce before the primary elections, has more.
- Hispanic voices are becoming more influential as the mid-term elections approach, reports Von Diaz.
Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- In Mexico, eighteen bodies found in a mass grave south of Acapulco may belong to members of a vacationing group of men who vanished Sept. 30.
- Mothers of Central American migrants missing in Mexico have staged a protest at Mexico’s Congress to demand information on their loved ones.
- U.S. consular officials on Thursday said that both Texas university students killed in Ciudad Juarez earlier this week were U.S. citizens, bringing the number of Americans slain in the violent border city to six in as many days.
- A passenger plane carrying 68 people crashed in Cuba.
- A teenager from Puerto Rico was accused of trying to smuggle cocaine through a South Florida airport.
- Heavy rain has started to fall in the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince as a powerful storm approaches, threatening earthquake survivors living in camps.
- The American Ballet Theatre has staged its first performance in Cuba for 50 years, in a mark of cultural diplomacy between the two countries.
- U.S. Congress has put up another obstacle to delivering the $1.15 billion in reconstruction money it promised to Haiti back in March.
- Representatives of El Salvador and Spain on Thursday inaugurated 12 schools that were built by a program under which Madrid wrote off $10 million in debt in exchange for a pledge the money would be spent on education.
- A 4.5 Magnitude quake was recorded on Wednesday at noon in the central part of El Salvador, reported the National Service of Territorial Studies.
- The Organization of American States will send its secretary-general to Costa Rica and Nicaragua to mediate a border dispute between the two countries, the body announced Thursday.
- Authorities in Nicaragua’s poorest municipality asked the Daniel Ortega government Thursday to declare a state of emergency in the Rio Coco region amid a severe food shortage.
- A landslide in Costa Rica caused by heavy rain has killed at least 20 people in a suburb of the capital, San Jose, officials say.
- According to the 2010 Human Development Report, Costa Rica upped its index score from 0.708 in 2009 to 0.725 this year; however, the country dropped in world rankings from 54th to 62nd, surpassed by Panama, Belarus and Trinidad and Tobago, among others.
- The Dutchwoman who joined Colombia’s largest rebel group only to complain of disillusionment in a diary found in 2007 at an abandoned jungle camp now appears in a video pledging allegiance to the guerrillas.
- Turkey has agreed to buy fuel from Venezuela and invest in its oil and gas sector, its energy minister said on Thursday.
- A former Ecuadorean official and two notaries have been ordered to stand trial for their alleged role in illegally naturalizing 200 Cuban migrants.
- A former army lieutenant nicknamed the “Butcher of the Andes” and 28 other ex-soldiers went on trial in Lima for their alleged role in the 1985 massacre of 69 villagers, mostly women and children, in southern Peru.
- Brazilian prosecutors filed a civil lawsuit Thursday against three soldiers and a policeman accused of dictatorship-era human rights abuses, including the torture of current president-elect Dilma Rousseff.
- Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Arturo A. Valenzuela will travel to Paraguay and Uruguay next week to meet with government officials.
- At a regional presentation of the UN Development Program 2010 Report in Montevideo, Chile and Argentina were found to have the region’s highest human development index (HDI), although Latin America is still the most unequal region in the world.
- A London research center ranked Uruguay the most prosperous nation in Latin America.
Image: United Nations Photo @ Flickr.