Haiti (MNN) ― Forecasters are calling for a volatile Atlantic hurricane season this year, with 3-6 major storms possible.The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts that this year’s six-month hurricane season will be active to extremely active. NOAA says there’s a 70% chance of having 13-20 named storms, of which 7-11 could turn into a hurricane.
That estimate far exceeds the seasonal average of a dozen named storms, six hurricanes, and three major hurricanes.
According to CH Dyer of Bright Hope International, this isn’t good news for survivors of Haiti’s 2010 earthquake.
Haiti’s government is bulldozing displaced families’ only source of shelter: clusters of so-called tent cities. Earlier this month, a tractor was used to demolish approximately 50 tents in Camp Bristou B1.
Dyer says, “It seems to be for a number of different types of reasons–political face-saving reasons: they’ve said they’re trying to get people out of the camps so that they can lower their numbers and show some progress, and land owners that have given up private land want it back.”
No matter the cause, it’s a move that has the United Nations “gravely concerned.” But it’s nothing new to Haiti. In July 2010, seven months after a catastrophic 7.0 magnitude earthquake rocked the Western Hemisphere’s poorest nation, land owners grew impatient. They began evicting thousands of tent cities and displacing families for a second time.
The pattern followed in 2011 but seemed to back off in 2012. However, forced evictions seemed to rise again in 2013. The UN estimates that since January, about 4,000 people have been forced out of four different camps.
Approximately 320,000 Haitians displaced by the 2010 quake are still without a home.
“Some of the churches that we’re working with [have to] take people in because they have no place to go,” Dyer says. He adds that while many displaced families were taken in by extended family or moved to rural areas of the country, thousands are left with no other option.
“Some of the churches that we’re working with have to take people in because they have no place to go. They’ve been trying to scramble to find accommodations for people who had been living in the tents,” says Dyer.
“It is a problem, and people are suffering because of it.”
In recent days, Dyer contacted a pastor with whom Bright Hope works in Haiti. When asked how believers in the West should pray for Haiti, the pastor’s reply was simple yet profound.
“He said, ‘We need to pray for the leaders of Haiti to love people more than they love power,'” Dyer recounts. “Secondly, he said, ‘We want to pray for our spiritual leaders to step up: to speak the truth and stand up for these people.’
“The third prayer is that Haiti would lose its title of the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. That’s a big prayer, but I know we have a big God.”