Just as the COVID-19 pandemic arrives in Haiti, the poorest country in the Americas with 11 million people, the nation is bracing to face a range of other humanitarian crises, including an approaching hurricane season.
The predicted coronavirus peak in June also coincides with the start of the annual hurricane season that runs until November.
Previous hurricanes have decimated parts of Haiti, including Hurricane Matthew in 2016 that destroyed much of the country's south.
Forecasters at Colorado State University expect a busier than normal 2020 Atlantic hurricane season, with four out of the 16 predicted storms set to become major hurricanes, partly due to warming Atlantic sea surface temperatures linked to climate change.
"What is predicted is a very active hurricane season. We are worried," Lamarque said.
Across the Caribbean, as governments focus on dealing with COVID-19 and strengthening their health systems, hurricane contingency planning is being disrupted, said the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA).
In Haiti, emergency shelters are set up in preparation for hurricane season and shelter protocols will be updated to allow for social distancing, according to the World Bank.
But charities warn of COVID-19 spreading in overcrowded situations if people seek shelter during a hurricane.
Haiti has so far reported fewer than 20 deaths due to the new coronavirus, but medical student Johane Josema fears that the low toll is what makes COVID-19 so dangerous in the Caribbean nation.
"People need to see many deaths to believe in the pandemic. They say COVID isn't a problem because there aren't many," the 25-year-old told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
"I'm afraid about the pandemic, but I'm more afraid about the people who don't believe it exists," said Josema, who hopes to become a pediatrician.
Jean "Bill" Pape, a doctor who is co-chairing Haiti's presidential commission created to combat COVID-19, said social attitudes and stigma toward those with the disease hamper efforts to limit its spread.
"Haitians do not believe that this disease is real and are not taking any precautions," Pape said.
As well, "the population does not want COVID-19 treatment centers near their zone of residence," he said.
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