Haiti was spared a direct hit from Hurricane Irma, but heavy rains and high surf were likely to trigger flooding Friday.
The eye of the storm moved between Haiti and the Dominican Republic. A falling tree left two injured and the storm surge was affecting northern coastal towns.
"When we look at other countries that have infrastructure and we see what Irma did, and our vulnerability, there is tremendous worry," Christian Joseph, the mayor of Môle-Saint-Nicolas, told The Miami Herald's Jacqueline Charles.
Aside from the flooding, authorities feared the storm could also trigger the deforested hillsides prone to mudslides to wipe out entire neighborhoods.
"We are vulnerable," Josue Alusma, mayor of the northern city of Port de Paix, said on Radio Zenith FM. "We don't have any equipment to help the population."
Some Haitians in Miami were preparing for the storm, while fearing for the safety of their families.
Haiti’s interior minister ordered the evacuation of coastal areas in the north of the country including residents of Port-de-Paix and the island known as Il de la Tortue.
Although the evacuation was mandatory, Haiti did not have enough law enforcement to enforce the order.
Interior Minister Max Rudolph Saint-Albin urged people to move to higher ground.
This BBSNews article originally appeared on News | WPLG.