It is Hurricane season and a powerful tropical storm is bearing down on Haiti. The results could be potentially calamitous. Some 650,000 people still remain displaced in tent cities, and authorities worry that a heavy rainstorm could spread cholera, which has already killed thousands.
Nearly 12,000 United Nations peacekeepers are on emergency standby in Haiti as tropical storm Emily barrels towards the impoverished Caribbean country, which is still struggling to recover from the devastating 2010 earthquake that killed more than 200,000 people and displaced 2.3 million others.
Some contingents of the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), which comprises 8,500 troops and 3,000 police, have already been deployed as a precautionary measure in regions that are most at risk from the storm, which is expected to hit the country overnight.
These forces are in position on the ground in Gonaïves and Les Cayes and on standby in Port-au-Prince should rescue operations be needed, and MINUSTAH has set up two crisis centres to coordinate action.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is coordinating all action that might be required from UN humanitarian agencies and their international and national partners. Food stocks, medical kits, cholera treatment kits, tents and tarpaulins have already been pre-positioned throughout the country in preparation for the hurricane season.