PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — This is not what Haiti needs.
The poorest country in the Western Hemisphere has been crippled by two major natural disasters in a decade and now faces the grim prospect of being hit by a historic Category 5 hurricane.
Although Irma’s eye was on track to pass offshore Thursday, even a glancing blow could flood roads and bridges, bring mudslides and topple rickety housing, a devastating deja vu of destruction caused by an earthquake in 2010 and Hurricane Matthew last October.
Haiti struggles to provide its nearly 11 million residents with basic shelter. How can it protect them from the punishing winds and calamitous aftereffects of Irma?
“I guess we are worried, but we are already living in another hurricane, Hurricane Misery,” said Nadeige Jean, a 35-year-old mother of three who was selling fruit at the Olympic Market in the capital city. “How much worse can our lives get? … So they say I should board up my house? With what? Wood? Who’s going to pay? With what money will I buy it? Ha! I don’t even have a tin roof. If the winds come, I can’t do anything but hope to live.”