Rep. Clarke’s Statement on Hurricane Tomas Hitting Parts of the Caribbean
Concerns Build as Storm is Expected to Hit Haiti
Today, Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke released the following statement on Hurricane Tomas causing significant damage in St. Lucia, Barbados, Grenada, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. While Hurricane Tomas weakened to a tropical storm after making landfall, it is now headed toward Haiti and Jamaica where it is expected to regain strength and upgrade to hurricane status again.
“My heart goes out to the many people of the many Caribbean nations who have suffered immensely due to this storm. Know that we stand with you as you endure these difficult times. I encourage you and your respective governments to prepare to move forward and begin recovery and rebuilding efforts as soon as possible,” stated Congresswoman Yvette Clarke.
Reports indicate that at least 14 lives have been lost in St. Lucia. The Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility (CCRIF) has estimated “government losses” in Barbados, Saint Lucia and St Vincent & the Grenadines will total around $12.8 million.
“As the storm heads toward Haiti and Jamaica, I implore all government officials, relief organizations, and the global community as a whole to work together to ensure that effective and adequate provisions are in place to keep people safe as the storm approaches,” added Rep. Clarke.
Haiti is still recovering from a devastating earthquake that killed over 300,000 and displaced millions. Even today, hundreds of thousands of people are still living in displacement camps in the capital, Port-au-Prince. The disaster is amplified further by the recent outbreak of cholera, which has infected nearly 5,000 Haitians.
“As a U.S. Representative one of the largest Caribbean immigrant and Caribbean-American populations in the US, it is important that we continue to monitor the progression of this storm and work with our allies to help ensure the safety of our third border, the Caribbean. I will continue to monitor this situation as it unfolds over the coming days,” concluded Congresswoman Clarke.
In preparation for the storm, aid organizations are hurrying to strengthen facilities, and provide necessary items to the Haitian people. The United States Navy, in anticipation, has deployed the USS Iwo Jima to provide aid and logistical support during the impending storm. Under the United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the Civil Protection is taking the lead in coordinating it hurricane contingency plans across Haiti.
A travel warning issued by the U.S. State Department on June 24, 2010 is still in effect urging U.S. citizens to avoid travel to Haiti. According to the State Department, “U.S. citizens who nevertheless plan travel to Haiti should defer travel until Tropical Storm Tomas has passed.” They advise those who plan on traveling to Haiti despite the travel warning to enroll their travel itinerary through the State Department’s travel registration website at https://travelregistration.state.gov/ibrs/ui/.