NEW YORK (1010 WINS/CBS 2/AP) — Hurricane Tomas flooded the earthquake-shattered remains of a Haitian town on Friday, forcing families who had already lost their homes in one disaster to flee another. In the country’s capital, quake refugees resisted calls to abandon flimsy tarp and tent camps.
Driving winds and storm surge battered Leogane, a seaside town west of Port-au-Prince that was near the epicenter of the Jan. 12 earthquake and was 90 percent destroyed. Dozens of families in one earthquake-refuge camp carried their belongings through thigh-high water to a taxi post on high ground, waiting out the rest of the storm under blankets and a sign that read “Welcome to Leogane.”
As the storm battered his homeland, Brooklyn Councilman Mathieu Eugene was making plans for a long range effort to help the Haitian people still living in tents.
1010 WINS Reporter Stan Brooks talks with Councilman Eugene
“What we want to do now, is to create a sustainable plan, a strategy in order to minimize the damages in case of natural disasters,” Eugene told 1010 WINS Senior Correspondent Stan Brooks, “and also to provide those people with certain resources in order for them to have a better life.”
Eugene, who just returned from a trip to Haiti, said nothing could be done in one hour or one day, but something must be done.
“It doesn’t make sense that those people don’t have no one who is trying to give them a better way of life,” Eugene said.
“When I went to Haiti, I didn’t see any sign that something is going on. I didn’t see any plan that gives hope that those people would be removed from the tents.”
In East Flatbush, many Haitians were praying for family members back in their homeland — holding back tears.
“And I’m talking to you with water in my eyes. I can’t talk about Haiti anymore,” Vivian Lazard told CBS 2’s Scott Rapoport, “it hurts me.”
“I leave everything in the hand of God. God is in control. Men can not do anything for Haiti. Only God,” Lazard said.
Gertrude Michel’s mother, sister, nephew and niece are in Haiti. She is still waiting to hear if they are okay.
“I feel sad, I feel bad, but I can do nothing,” Michel said, “I’m scared and I’m not sleeping well, you know.”
The growing hurricane with 85 mph winds, was battering the western tip of Haiti’s southern peninsula and the cities of Jeremie and Les Cayes Friday evening.
At least three people died trying to cross swollen rivers, Haiti civil protection officials said. The hurricane had earlier killed at least 14 people in the eastern Caribbean.
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