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Tropical Storm Tomas headed toward Haiti

Haiti, November 1, 2010

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  <span class="field-credit">
    Nancy Farese for Mercy Corps  </span>
    Mercy Corps team members on the hillside where the camp called Cite Bob is perched. Below them a ravine that fills with water during storms. Photo: Nancy Farese for Mercy Corps

Mercy Corps' water and sanitation team is out in Port-au-Prince camps today with two messages: how to prevent the spread of cholera, and how to prepare for tropical storm Tomas, which is currently headed toward Haiti and may strengthen into a hurricane at the end of the week.

Tomas is currently over the Caribbean, but the National Hurricane Center projects its trajectory to reach Haiti by Friday.

Today our team is combining cholera prevention and treatment messaging with hurricane preparedness information that focuses on how people should seek safer shelter at nearby schools, improve how their tents are fixed to the ground, protect their belongings, and dig drainage around their tents to prevent flooding.

Mercy Corps' water and sanitation manager Trish Morrow is leading the team and is accompanied by Mugur Dumitrache, Mercy Corps' Global Emergency Operations team water and sanitation expert.

A storm of any size is of particular threat to the country, which since last week has struggled to contain an epidemic of cholera — a highly infectious waterborne disease. Flooding brought on by a storm will worsen sanitary conditions for families living in camps and along rivers and streams in rural areas.

Mercy Corps is closely monitoring the storm, continues to bring critical cholera prevention and treatment information to vulnerable populations in Port-au-Prince and Haiti's Center Department, and is quickly working to see what more we can do to help camps prepare.

You can also track the storm through the National Hurricane Center website.