A month ago it was a race against time to pull survivors from the rubble. Now it is a race against time to build shelters before the rainy season starts. Ruth Destile and her children are living in a makeshift tent: “When it’s raining, the children are getting wet. I had to come here, because I don’t have a place to go where I can take care of my children.”
After the earthquake a second crisis is looming.
More than 200,000 people died in the earthquake. Three million people were affected and a million a homeless. Some 250,000 houses were destroyed.
Agencies are handing out groundsheets and ropes so that people can reinforce makeshift shelters. But it is unlikely that everyone will have a shelter by May 1 when the rainy season will be well underway.
Joseph Ashmore of the International Organisation for Migration said: “What we’re trying to do in the short term is provide amterials to build and improve shelters, and in the medium term, in the next six, nine, twelve months provide slightly more solid structures. Trying to look at ways of improving because once you are building out of timber or steel frame, the issue is not so much earthquake but hurricane risk.”
The hurricane season follows the rainy season and lasts until the end of October. Worse, this year forecasters are predicting a violent hurricane season. They say there is a 49% chance that Haiti will be hit by a strong hurricane.
But whatever the future holds, for the moment, Haitians are simply struggling to build shelters against the coming rain.