Tropical storm kills four in Haiti

Port-au-Prince, Aug 30 (IANS) Tropical storm “Erika” has left at least four people dead and 13 injured as it passed through Haiti, authorities announced on Saturday.

The Caribbean country’s Civil Protection Directorate (DPC) told the media that a bus collided with a truck in the Leogane locality, southwestern Haiti, killing four and left 11 people wounded, Xinhua reported.

Another two people were injured in the north after a house collapsed, according to the DPC.

Erika entered Haiti on Friday night via the city of Anse-a-Pitres, 85 km southeast of the capital of Port-au-Prince.

Haiti’s government had forbidden transport circulation between the country’s different departments where intense rain caused flooding, especially in the south and west. This forced authorities to evacuate hundreds of people.

Haiti’s Prime Minister Evans Paul called for solidarity “to face this disaster”. The interior ministry announced it had made 1,966 shelters available with a capacity to accommodate up to 340,407 people.

The National Meteorological Centre warned the adverse conditions would continue through Saturday in most of the country and could still cause flooding and landslides while the DPC has been spreading messages in Creole, Haiti’s native language, throupulatigh Twitter and other mass media, urging people to follow instructions.

Among the most vulnerable are the 60,801 victims of the 2010 earthquake who still live in some of the 45 camps, according to the International Organisation for Migration (OIM).

Erika, the fifth storm of the season, left 20 people dead and dozens missing in Dominica along with floods and landslides.

Various islands in the region such as Antigua and Barbuda, Saint Lucia, Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago are working together to help their neighbour with the “disaster of epic proportions”, said Dominica’s Prime Minister Rossevelt Skerrit.

In Puerto Rico, authorities suspended nearly 100 flights and closed ports due to the storms close proximity and the island’s Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla warned the population to stay alert.

The storm also brought heavy rains to the Dominican Republic, where 7,345 people were displaced from their homes and around 100 had to be evacuated to official shelters.

While on it’s way to Cuba on Saturday, Erika was downgraded from a tropical storm to a tropical wave, according to Cuba’s Meteorological Institute. However people are still on alert and prepared for heavy rains.

The annual hurricane season in the region officially began on June 1 and will end on November 30.

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