- Title: HAITI: First rain since earthquake drenches tent city residents in Port-Au-Prince
- Date: 12th February 2010
- Summary: CU OF BABY
- Embargoed: 27th February 2010 12:00
- Location: Haiti
- Country: Haiti
- Topics: Disasters / Accidents / Natural catastrophes,Weather
- Reuters ID: LVAA4K69N65XRN1UKUD4680JMJZ1
- Story Text: An early morning downpour, the first since Haiti 's devastating quake, brings new difficulties to Haitians living in tent cities.
Heavy rain drenched earthquake survivors in the tent camps of the Haitian capital on Thursday (February 11), bringing a warning of fresh misery to come for the 1 million people living on the streets.
First light of dawn revealed the sodden bedsheets some residents are using for shelter sagging under the weight of the rain and residents milling in puddles on the pavement of the main city square in Port-au-Prince after an overnight downpour.
While the rain could wash away some of the dust from the hundreds of collapsed structures in the stricken city, it could also worsen a fierce blight of mosquitoes.
Dozens of tent camp residents, weary and frustrated with daily life since the quake, shouted and marched following the rain.
One woman even called for the return of former President Jean Bertrand Aristide, who is currently living in exile in South Africa .
"We need Aristide to come to help the situation of Haiti . Aristide - we need this solution. With Aristide here, we wouldn't have the problem," she said.
Another resident said her family was suffering and the rain just made it worse.
"We don't have tents. The rain has come and it is wet. We have two children - one three months - we don't have a tent to sleep in. We don't have a house for sleeping. We didn't receive any food. The poor don't receive the food," she said.
Nearly a month after a magnitude 7 earthquake shattered the capital of the Caribbean nation of 9 million people, Haiti is in a race against time to move survivors from the rudimentary shelters they have fashioned out of plastic sheets, bedsheets and panels of corrugated zinc into more substantial shelters.
On Wednesday (February 10) the US point person for Haiti , Lewis Lucke - a former USAID senior official in Haiti and former ambassador to Swaziland - said the US was trying to plan for the rainy season.
"We - the United States - we have tens of thousands of of rolls of plastic sheeting that's going out everyday. We plan to have as an international community plastic sheeting available for everyone who needs it - at least a start - of what their needs are in terms of plastic sheeting by May 1. And then, once we have everybody's initial needs, at least the start of being addressed, then we will bring in more and more after May. But the point is to protect people before the start of the rains," he said.
The tropical rainy season could start within weeks, and the Caribbean hurricane season begins on June 1, with the drainage canals of the capital choked with trash and earthquake rubble. Impoverished Haiti has been virtually stripped of trees and is prone to deadly flash floods and mudslides.
The Jan. 12 quake, Haiti 's worst natural disaster, killed 212,000 people and wrecked 250,000 homes, according to the government.
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