Five dead in Haiti storm

Stormy weather that lashed the Haitian capital left five people dead on Friday and inflicted damage in camps for people left homeless by a January earthquake, authorities said.

Strong winds blew roofs off houses, uprooted trees and toppled power lines in Port-au-Prince.

“A first evaluation has led us to count five deaths in refugee camps where tens of thousands of homeless” living from the powerful January 12 quake, the head of communications for the Haitian Civil Protection, Edgard Celestin, told AFP. “The wind has destroyed and damaged many tents in refugee camps on the outskirts of Port-au-Prince,” said Celestin, who said that hundreds of camp residents were getting ready to evacuate.

Tents were blown away at a refugee camp near the presidential palace, and the wind knocked over public toilets, victims said. The weather also caused damage in some provincial cities, according to radio reports.

The impoverished Caribbean country was struck by a magnitude 7.0 earthquake on January 12 that killed 250,000 people and destroyed much of the capital. Some 125,000 Haitian families were put up in the emergency camps following the quake. Tent cities have sprung up in and around the ruined capital of the poorest country in the Americas, with little sign that those left homeless and destitute will move into more permanent housing in the near future.

International aid has been slow in coming, with only a fraction of the funds promised for rebuilding efforts actually disbursed.

Earlier in the hurricane season, the United Nations identified 130 tent cities as being at risk from rains and winds that could further worsen conditions for the most vulnerable, including thousands of orphaned children

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Associated Press photo by Ramon Espinosa

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