Irene pounds Turks and Caicos; Haiti escapes serious damage

Caribbean News Now!
Hurricane Irene has left impoverished Haiti relatively unscathed, with only isolated damage from flooding and no widespread serious emergencies in a country that is still struggling to recover from last year’s devastating earthquake, the United Nations reported on Wednesday.

The “red alert” which Haitian authorities issued for the entire country has been lifted, although an “orange alert” is still in force in three northern departments, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said.

There are isolated areas of damage in the northern regions, but OCHA has deactivated the emergency joint operation centre it was coordinating. The UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), meanwhile, is keeping its regional crisis management centres active until local authorities and humanitarian actors decide they are no longer needed.

Shipping activities are still interrupted but international and domestic flights have resumed.

Only one of the more than 160 evacuation sites has been used so far, by 500 people, and some roads have been cut by landslides.

MINUSTAH had put some of its nearly 12,000 peacekeepers on emergency standby in case they should be needed for rescue operations.
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