Port-au-Prince: Authorities on Sunday urged hundreds of thousands of Haitians living in crowded tent camps to seek new shelter as Tropical Storm Tomas roared across the Caribbean with Haiti in its projected path.
Tomas was downgraded to a tropical storm from a Category 1 hurricane, but the National Hurricane Center said it may regain strength early this week as it passes south of the Dominican Republic and Haiti, where more than one million survivors of a January 12 earthquake are living in sprawling tent camps.
Under some models of the storm`s track, Tomas was forecast to turn to the north and head toward Haiti, but it could also move further south. Other projections show the storm possibly shifting course farther east toward the Dominican Republic or even west toward Jamaica.
Any heavy rains and powerful winds from Tomas would pose a significant threat to the estimated 1.3 million homeless survivors now living in tent and tarpaulin camps in the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince.
Tomas was packing top sustained winds near of 65 miles per hour and was located about 250 miles from Curacao, the Miami-based center said.
In Haiti, the government and international aid groups are already struggling with a major cholera epidemic that has killed at least 330 people and sickened over 4,700 people.