Behind the once exclusive gates of this quake-ravaged nation's only golf course, thousands of sandbags cut a path up and down steep hills, while a new road now doubles as an emergency evacuation route.
But for every Petionville Golf Club where gravel and sandbags have been laid to save lives in case of dangerous flooding, there are dozens of camps like Marassa 14, where nothing has been done to prepare for hurricane season. Hundreds of blue and white tarp-covered shacks crowd a low-lying, flood-prone ravine.
"They want us to leave, but we will not leave here," said Adrienne Francois, 60, among the 3,000 residents of the camp near Croix-des-Bouquets, just outside the capital. "We are at the mercy of God. We can leave, and still end up under tarps."
With the official start of the 2010 Atlantic hurricane season Tuesday, a disaster-prone Haiti is far from ready for what meteorologists predict will be a heightened storm season with at least 15 named storms.
Some 1.5 million homeless earthquake victims remain under tents and tarps in at least 1,200 camps across the country. Roads remain cluttered with rubble. The Haitian government has designated only two new emergency relocation camps. And few hurricane-resistant transitional houses have been built as the government and international aid groups continue to wrestle with land issues: how to get more of it, how to put up temporary houses and how to get camp dwellers with safe homes to return, or seek higher ground
"When we first started this operation . . . we hoped that we would be able to build a significant number of transitional shelters by the start of the hurricane season," said Alex Wynter of the International Federation of Red Cross. "We've made up our minds that we are going to have to face the emergency or the potential emergency of the rainy season and the hurricane season in the camps."
Initially, the U.S. military designated nine camps, including the Petionville Golf Club, as priorities because some 29,000 people in them were considered most at risk of being washed away with flash floods and landslides.
Since then, the International Organization for Migration has determined that engineers must inspect 120 camps in Port-au-Prince because of concerns about flooding, landslides or standing water from heavy rains. The inspections will determine the measures needed to reinforce the camps, said Shuan Scales, the agency's camp planner.
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