Haiti Flood Death Toll From Jeanne Tops 700 - TennisForum.com
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old Sep 22nd, 2004, 01:53 PM Thread Starter
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Unhappy Haiti Flood Death Toll From Jeanne Tops 700

GONAIVES, Haiti (Sept. 22) - The death toll across Haiti from the weekend deluges brought by Tropical Storm Jeanne rose to more than 700 Tuesday, with about 600 of them in Gonaives, and officials said they expected to find more dead and estimated tens of thousands of people were homeless.

Waterlines up to 10 feet high on Gonaives' buildings marked the worst of the storm that sent water gushing down denuded hills, destroying homes and crops in the Artibonite region that is Haiti's breadbasket.


A convoy of U.N. trucks carrying tons of food makes its way to flood-ravaged Gonaives, Haiti.

Floodwaters receded, but half of Haiti's third-largest city was still swamped with contaminated water up to two feet deep four days after Jeanne passed. Not a house in the city of 250,000 people escaped damage. The homeless sloshed through the streets carrying belongings on their heads, while people with houses that still had roofs tried to dry scavenged clothes.

"We're going to start burying people in mass graves,'' said Toussaint Kongo-Doudou, a spokesman for the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Haiti. Some victims were buried Monday.

Flies buzzed around bloated corpses piled high at the city's three morgues, where the electricity was off as temperatures reached into the 90s.

Only about 30 of the 250 bodies at the morgue of the flood-damaged General Hospital hade been identified, said Dr. Daniel Rubens of the International Red Cross. Many of the dead there were children.

"I lost my kids and there's nothing I can do,'' said Jean Estimable, whose 2-year-old daughter was killed and another of his five children was missing and presumed dead.

Dieufort Deslorges, spokesman for the civil protection agency, said he expected the death toll to rise as reports came in from outlying villages and estimated a quarter million Haitians had been made homeless.

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Rescue workers reported recovering 691 bodies by Tuesday night - about 600 of them in Gonaives and more than 40 in northern Port-de-Paix, Deslorges said. In addition, at least 51 were recovered in other areas.

But Deslorges said there were dozens more dead still unaccounted for, which would bring the toll past 700. "It appears many were swept away to the sea, there are bodies still buried in mud and rubble, or floating in water,'' he told the AP.

He said relief workers were operating under "extremely difficult conditions: no electricity, all landline telephone service is cut, cell phones work very badly and then there's no power to recharge them.''

Gonaives was blacked-out Tuesday night. Only a handful of buildings were lit and hotels packed with displaced people were in darkness because they had run out of fuel for generators.

More than 1,000 people were missing, said Raoul Elysee, head of the Haitian Red Cross, which was trying desperately to find doctors to help. The international aid group CARE said 85 of its 200 workers in Gonaives were unaccounted for.

"It's really catastrophic. We're still discovering bodies,'' said Francoise Gruloos of the U.N. Children's Fund.

The aid group Food for the Poor said the main road north from Gonaives was made impassable by the storm - it was unclear whether from mudslides or debris - and there were fears that hundreds of possible flood victims may be out of reach.

Brazilian and Jordanian troops in the U.N. peacekeeping mission sent to stabilize Haiti after rebels ousted President Jean-Bertrand Aristide in February struggled to help the needy as aid workers ferried supplies of water and food to victims.

CARE spokesman Rick Perera said the agency had about 660 tons of dry food in Gonaives, including corn-soy blend, dried lentils and cooking oil and was trying to set up distribution points.

Police said aid vehicles were being waylaid by mobs on the outskirts of Gonaives. One truck that made it to City Hall in the town center was swarmed by people who began throwing its load of bagged water into the crowd, setting off a melee. The driver finally sped off, bouncing people off the truck.

Addressing the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday, Haiti's interim president, Boniface Alexandre, pleaded for help.

"In the face of this tragedy ... I appeal urgently for the solidarity of the international community so it may once again support the government in the framework of emergency assistance,'' he said.

Several nations were sending aid including $1.8 million from the European Union and $1 million and rescue supplies from Venezuela. The U.S. Embassy announced $60,000 in immediate relief aid Monday, drawing criticism from Rep. Kendrick Meek, D-Fla., who called it "a drop in the bucket.''

Floods are particularly devastating in Haiti, the poorest country in the Americas, because it is almost completely deforested, leaving few roots to hold back rushing waters or mudslides. Most of the trees have been chopped down to make charcoal for cooking.

Jeanne came four months after devastating floods along Haiti's southern border with the Dominican Republic. Some 1,700 bodies were recovered and 1,600 more were presumed dead.

Gonaives also suffered fighting during the February rebellion that led to the ouster of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide and left an estimated 300 dead.

The storm entered the Caribbean last week, killing seven people in Puerto Rico before the hurricane hit the Dominican Republic, killing at least 19, including 12 who drowned Monday in swollen rivers. The overall death toll was 717.

On Tuesday, Jeanne was posing no threat to land, about 515 miles east of Great Abaco island in the Bahamas.

Also out in the open Atlantic was Hurricane Karl, 990 miles from the Caribbean's Leeward islands, and Tropical Storm Lisa, which was about 1,005 miles northeast of the Leeward Islands.

09/22/04 01:09 EDT


Copyright 2004 The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press. All active hyperlinks have been inserted by AOL.
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old Sep 23rd, 2004, 01:44 AM
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I dated someone from Gonaives - briefly. I should call and ask about his family, but he prolly hates me so I don't know.
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old Sep 23rd, 2004, 06:01 AM
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old Sep 23rd, 2004, 11:26 AM
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Death toll in Haiti tops 1,000
U.N. troops face down hungry crowd; storm may double back

GONAIVES, Haiti - The death toll from floods in Haiti has risen to more than 1,070 and could reach 2,000, Dieufort Deslorges of the government’s civil protection agency said Wednesday.

Rescuers counted 1,013 bodies recovered from floodwaters, mud and collapsed homes in Gonaives alone by Wednesday night, he said of Haiti’s third-largest city.

Another 58 bodies have been recovered elsewhere in Haiti’s northwest province, Deslorges told The Associated Press.

He said the number of people reported missing since Tropical Storm Jeanne lashed the islands with torrential rains for 30 hours over the weekend was up to 1,250. Some bodies washed out to sea at Gonaives, dozens remained in still-high waters or floating in flooded houses in the city, he said, indicating that the toll could reach as high as 2,000.

In this impoverished Caribbean nation, the poorest in the Western Hemisphere, that could be the highest toll ever in a country where disaster strikes frequently and hard.

U.N. peacekeepers fired into the air to keep a hungry crowd at bay Wednesday as aid workers handed out bread, the first food in days for some in this city devastated by floods.

Jeanne, the storm that caused the destruction in Haiti and has since regained hurricane strength over the open Atlantic this week, could head back toward the Bahamas and the United States, threatening the storm-battered southeast coast as early as this weekend, forecasters said Wednesday.

In Haiti, mass burials for the more than 800 victims, with bodies piled outside morgues raising fears about health, were expected to start after delays forced by public opposition. Many Haitians believe that unless a body is respectfully buried, the spirit may wander, commit evil and harm family members.

More than 200 people lined up along a fence around the Gonaives Roman Catholic cathedral Wednesday as CARE aid workers began passing bread through a gate in the fence. As the line disintegrated and the pressing crowd threatened to bring down the fence, U.N. peacekeepers fired several shots into the air. Order was restored and no one was hurt.

Sleeping in the streets
On Wednesday, people who slept uncovered in muddy streets and near piles of rubble in Gonaives’ Place d’Armes, the central square, woke to wails and another morning without breaking their fast.

“Woy!” The traditional shriek of mourning cut through the air.

Carcasses of pigs, goats and dogs still floated in muddy waters slowly receding from the streets in Gonaives, Haiti’s third-largest city with some 250,000 people. No house escaped damage. The homeless sloshed through the streets carrying belongings on their heads, while people in homes that still had roofs tried to dry scavenged clothes.

Flies buzzed around bloated corpses piled high at the city’s three morgues. The electricity was off, and the stench of death hung over the city.

Haitian Red Cross officials said they began mass burials Wednesday at the Bois Marchand cemetery, though there was no activity when a reporter visited.

Graveyard manager Bony Jeudy said 78 people have been buried in five graves since Monday at the public cemetery. “They come from all over, mostly on wooden carts. Adults, children and babies. They were brought in by friends, families and strangers,” he said of the bodies.

The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said Haitian health engineers were expected in Gonaives on Thursday with creoline and other materials to treat bodies.

Relatives wait to identify victims
Relatives waited outside a morgue set up in the flood-damaged General Hospital all Tuesday to identify and bury victims. But vehicles to carry bodies to the cemetery never arrived. Most bodies remained unidentified.

Destilor Aldajus, a 50-year-old farmer, said he and his six children climbed onto their roof to escape the floods. But he was at the morgue looking for his wife. “I couldn’t find her, but I knew the water had taken her,” he said.

Red Cross volunteers put more than 100 bodies into body bags, leaving them in a pile outside the morgue.

“We’re going to start burying people in mass graves,” said Toussaint Kongo-Doudou, a spokesman for the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Haiti.

Renel Corvil, a 32-year-old farmer, said he had come to the morgue every day since Saturday to look for his four missing children. On Tuesday, he found them. But after waiting all day for the bodies to be taken to the cemetery, he left to bury a fifth child whose corpse was already at the graveyard.

As they waited, survivors exchanged tales. “Everyone in my neighborhood who survived had climbed a tree,” Corvil said.

Waterlines 10 feet high
Waterlines up to 10 feet high on Gonaives’ buildings marked the worst of the storm, which sent torrents of water and mudslides down denuded hills, destroying homes and crops.

Dieufort Deslorges, spokesman for Haiti’s civil protection agency, said he expected the death toll to rise as reports come in from outlying villages and rescuers dig through mudslides and rubble.

Last week, Jeanne also killed seven people in Puerto Rico and 19 in Dominican Republic, including 12 who drowned Monday in swollen rivers.

At 5 p.m. ET, Jeanne was centered about 500 miles east of the Bahamian island of Great Abaco. It was moving west-southwest and was expected to strengthen and turn toward the west in the next 24 hours. Hurricane-force winds extended 45 miles and tropical-storm force winds another 140 miles.

Also out in the open Atlantic, Tropical Storm Lisa is forecast to take a big swing northward in the next five days, diverting it from a track toward the Leeward Islands. And Hurricane Karl was expected to keep moving away from North America.

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Not blind. Not uninformed. We are party to atrocities. But the response of the world after 9/11 is worth noting. Even our most dire enemies offered aid. We should all be so lucky.
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old Sep 23rd, 2004, 02:58 PM
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OMG!! Is this like labeled "Hurricane Massacre 2004"!??? I am sorry sorry for them..these hurricanes are definitely getting out of hand..and there are 2 more on its way!!? Will it ever end!??

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