Hurricane Tomas Spares Port-au-Prince, Cholera Still a Threat

“I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.” – Psalm 34:5

The damage caused in Haiti by Hurricane Tomas is still being assessed, but it’s clear the Lord’s hand guided the worst of the storm’s destruction away from the earthquake-battered capital of Port-au-Prince.

People walk in a flooded street in the neighborhood of Cite Soleil in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on Nov. 6, 2010 after Hurricane Tomas passed through the area. Photo courtesy of Ramon Espinosa, Associated Press.
People walk in a flooded street in the neighborhood of Cite Soleil in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on Nov. 6, 2010 after Hurricane Tomas passed through the area. Photo courtesy of Ramon Espinosa, Associated Press.

That was a blessing for hundreds of thousands of people living in the many internally displaced persons (IDP) camps scattered in and around the city. The capital did see heavy rain and wind, but thankfully the Lord saw fit to spare his children there from the worst of the storm.

Yet the need remains great in Haiti, as many people did not escape the storm’s fury and now face an increased risk of contracting cholera.

Significant damage was reported in southwestern Haiti near Les Cayes, the largest city in that region of the country. Coastal areas west and north of Port-au-Prince also experienced heavy flooding as ocean waters rose and rain poured down. According to the latest numbers, 20 people have died and about 6,000 families in Haiti are now homeless as a result of Hurricane Tomas.

One of our ministry partners who operates an orphanage near Les Cayes wrote to us about the damage in Tiburon, a seaside town located to the west. He wrote:

“I just received a phone call from the father of one of our kids who borrowed a friend’s cell phone. He described the devastation he, his family and neighbors went through with Hurricane Tomas. Dozens of homes were destroyed in that area; most animals were killed and all crops were ruined. The man was crying at the end, was beyond consolation, and begged for help.”

Cross is committed to helping all our affected ministry partners and the people they serve get through this time of need. As our partners further evaluate the damage now that floodwaters are receding and they are better able to take stock of the situation, we stand ready to help them in whatever way they need us.

The floodwaters caused by Hurricane Tomas also increase the chances that the recent cholera outbreak will intensify in the coming weeks.

Since cholera is a waterborne illness, many people worry it will spread even faster because of the standing water in low-lying areas—and because the river that the disease was traced to is currently overflowing its banks.

The latest reports show 544 people have died of cholera since late October, when the disease first appeared, and more than 8,000 people have been treated for it.

Please pray for the Haitian people this week as they recover from a hurricane and brace themselves for what could possibly be an even worse outbreak of cholera. We stand in awe of God’s power to protect Port-au-Prince, a city that has suffered so much, from Hurricane Tomas. We also stand before him in humility, asking him to wrap his loving arms around his people in Haiti who have been impacted by the hurricane and who are at risk of contracting a deadly disease.

To learn more about how you can help Haiti in the wake of Hurricane Tomas, click here.

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