Sunday, September 7, 2008

VIDEO:Caribbean Lashed By Hurricane Ike

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="226" caption="Turks and Caicos residents hid anywhere they could from the storm"]Turks and Caicos residents hid anywhere they could from the storm[/caption]

Thousands of people have taken refuge across the Caribbean as one of the season's fiercest hurricanes barrels across the islands, on course for Cuba.

The Associated Press news agency quoted the Turks and Caicos prime minister as saying 80% of homes on Grand Turk and South Caicos islands had been damaged.

The British Red Cross has launched an appeal for those fleeing their homes.

The storm is hammering the Bahamas with 135mph (215km/h) winds and is due to hit the Cuban coast on Sunday night.

Ike has also dumped rain on Haiti, still reeling from other recent storms.

At 1200 GMT, the centre of the Category Four hurricane was just east of Great Inagua Island in the south-eastern Bahamas, according to the US National Hurricane Center (NHC).

Ike is moving at about 14mph and is classified by the NHC as "extremely danger zone", AP reports.

Thousands of tourists and residents left the normally tranquil Turks and Caicos islands as the storm closed in, but hundreds more sought refuge there - some in shelters, others in closets and under stairwells, AP reported.rous".

"[People were] just holding on for life," Turks and Caicos Prime Minister Michael Misick was quoted by AP as saying.

"They got hit really, really bad. A lot of people have lost their house, and we will have to see what we can do to accommodate," he said.

The British Red Cross hopes to provide relief to people in the Turks and Caicos islands - a UK overseas territory - and in the wider region, by providing a supply plane, more shelters, hygiene kits, food, clothing and bedding.

Relief operations manager Pete Garrett told the BBC the extent of the damage had not yet been established but the existing shelters had been crammed full of people overnight.

Forecasters say Ike could unleash up to 12 inches (30cm) of rain in its wake, including on Haiti, where earlier storms left at least 600 dead.

The battered country was hit with fresh downpours as Ike's outer rain band passed over its north-west coast, while the NHC has warned of "life-threatening flash floods and mudslides over mountainous terrain".

[vodpod id=Groupvideo.1541802&w=425&h=350&]

The UN children's charity Unicef says some 650,000 Haitians have been affected by flooding caused by Tropical Storm Hanna last week, while more bad weather will further hamper the aid effort there.

Forecasters say Ike could strengthen on its way to Cuba, threatening to devastate the island's sugar cane fields and putting the crumbling colonial buildings of the capital, Havana, at risk.

In Havana, residents have been stocking up on petrol, candles and canned food, after a television weather presenter said "almost the entire country is in the danger zone", AP reports.

Resources stretched

The destruction in Haiti has been described as catastrophic.

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="226" caption="Hurricane Ike has brought fresh misery to Haiti"]Hurricane Ike has brought fresh misery to Haiti[/caption]

Police said 500 people were confirmed dead from recent Tropical Storm Hanna but that others are still missing and the number could rise.

The UN's World Food Programme (WFP) said hundreds of thousands of people had been displaced by the flooding.

The WFP has begun distributing food aid but a spokesperson said the scale of the disaster was putting their resources to the test.

Other aid workers say people's spirits are running low after the successive storms.

"Food supplies and water are scarce and the price of the food that's left is rising," said Parnell Denis from Oxfam in Gonaives, the port city hardest hit by Hanna.

"The morale of people staying in the shelters is so very low; I am afraid to tell them that another storm is on its way."

Up to 16ft of floodwater in Gonaives has only now begun to recede.

Hanna struck in the wake of Hurricane Gustav and Tropical Storm Fay two weeks ago, which left about 120 people dead in Haiti.

Source: BBC

No comments:

Post a Comment