Haitian refugees riot as storm nears
Angry earthquake survivors in Haiti disrupted an attempted evacuation Thursday of a resettlement camp as Tropical Storm Tomas bore down on the poor Caribbean country already reeling from a cholera epidemic and destruction from the quake.
Tomas was expected to hit Haiti Thursday night, battering the stark and largely deforested land with gusting wind, surging waves and torrential rains of up to 10 or 15 inches in some areas.
President Rene Preval went on national radio to urge citizens to take precautions and follow evacuation recommendations. “Protect your lives,” he said.
An effort to move some 2,000 people from Corail, — an exposed camp outside Port-au-Prince set up by the United Nations and aid groups to resettle homeless quake survivors — was obstructed by camp dwellers worried that authorities were trying to permanently move them out.
More than 100 yelling youths broke tables set up by aid workers to process the evacuees from the tent camp of some 7,700 people located at the base of several bare hills outside of the Haitian capital.
About 1.3 million survivors of the Jan. 12 quake that killed more than a quarter of a million people in the Western Hemisphere’s poorest nation are still living in makeshift camps crammed into open spaces in the capital.