- PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (Reuters)
-- More than 300 people died in Haiti from flooding and mudslides triggered
by Tropical Storm Jeanne, according to aid workers who said half of the
northern city of Gonaives was still underwater.
- "We have counted 250 bodies at the hospital morgue
in Gonaives," U.N. spokesman Toussaint Congo-Doudou said after heavy
rains sent a wall of muddy water crashing through northern towns over the
- U.N. peacekeepers had unconfirmed reports of another
150 dead in Gonaives, said U.N. coordinator Adama Guindo.
- The northern city was the birthplace of Haiti's independence
from France 200 years ago and it was where an armed revolt began this year
that led to the ouster of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
- Forty-seven people were also confirmed killed in the
northwest province, around the town of Port-de-Paix, said Henry Max Thelus,
a government official. Eight deaths were recorded elsewhere, bringing the
total confirmed toll to 305.
- Interim Prime Minister Gerard Latortue declared three
days of national mourning.
- Half of Gonaives remained under water, and 80 percent
of its inner urban population of over 100,000 had been affected by the
floods, which at one point forced hundreds of people to take cover on the
roofs of their homes, said Anne Poulsen, spokeswoman for the U.N.'s World
Food Program in Haiti.
- Twelve trucks carrying 40 metric tons of food would leave
the capital Port-au-Prince Monday and head to Gonaives, said Poulsen.
- The World Health Organization planned to deliver medicine,
and 15 trucks from the Brazilian-led U.N. force had gone to reinforce a
detachment of Argentine peacekeepers stationed in the city.
- "It's not just people's houses, it's also crops
and livestock that have been washed away. So it will take quite some months
before people will be able to cope by themselves again," Poulsen said.
"Nature is tough on Haiti."
- Haiti, the poorest country in the Americas, is frequently
lashed by flash floods and mudslides because of extensive deforestation.
Around 2,000 Haitians died when extensive floods washed away villages near
the Dominican-Haitian border in May.
- Congo-Doudou said that at the height of the flooding,
the water was 9 feet deep in Gonaives and the current was so strong it
swept away heavy military trucks. U.N. helicopters were used to pluck people
from their rooftops.
- A woman who was about to give birth in the street as
muddy waters swirled around her legs was rescued by U.N. police.
- The fresh blow from nature came on top of bloody political
conflict that saw Aristide flee into exile on Feb. 29. A Brazilian-led
U.N. force is trying to keep the peace. Jeanne, which last Thursday briefly
became a hurricane with winds in excess of 75 mph, also killed 11 people
in the Dominican Republic, which shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti,
and two in the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico.
- The latest cyclone in an unusually busy Atlantic hurricane
season, the storm was moving slowly northward to the east of the Bahamas
at 11 a.m. on Monday, with maximum sustained winds of 65 mph (100 kph).
- It presented no immediate threat to land, the U.S. National
Hurricane Center said, and was expected to swing to the northeast. That
would spare Florida, hit by three big hurricanes in the past five weeks.
- Likewise, powerful Hurricane Karl presented no immediate
threat to land as it swirled in the open Atlantic, 1,010 miles east-northeast
of the Lesser Antilles, with winds of 120 mph.
- Meanwhile, a new tropical storm formed in the Atlantic
on Monday. Tropical Storm Lisa was 810 miles west of the Cape Verde islands
by 11 a.m., with 60 mph (95 kph) as it began to take a westerly track that
would move it through the Caribbean toward the Gulf of Mexico.
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