Saturday, September 6, 2008

500 Bodies Found as Haiti Floodwaters Recede

Almost 500 bodies have been found in the port city of Gonaives after floodwaters caused by recent storms receded, according to reports.

Floods in Gonaives left people stranded and in desperate need of help

Commissioner Ernst Dorfeuille told Reuters news agency 495 bodies had been found and the toll could get higher.

A ship carrying 33 tons of UN aid arrived in Haiti on Friday to help an estimated 600,000 people struggling in the wake of tropical storm Hanna.

The storm is heading for the US, while Hurricane Ike threatens the Bahamas.

The US National Hurricane Center says Ike is a Category Three hurricane, with winds of up to 185 km/h (115mph).

It is expected to pass near or over the Turks and Caicios Islands and south-eastern Bahamas late on Saturday or early Sunday - by which time it could be a major hurricane, forecasters say.

Tropical storm Hanna is causing heavy squalls off the coasts of North and South Carolina and tropical storm warnings are in force along the Atlantic coats from Georgia to New Jersey.

The devastation the storm left behind in in Gonaives in Haiti has been described as catastrophic.

Stench of death

Haitian Prime Minister Michele Pierre-Louis said her newly-installed government would take the necessary measures to help victims of the disaster.

Commissioner Ernst Dorfeuille told Reuters: "The weather is calm now and we are discovering more bodies. We have found 495 bodies so far and there are 13 people missing.

"The smell of the dead is very unpleasant in Gonaives. The death toll could be even higher."

Hanna dumped massive amounts of rain on the country over four days, blowing down fruit trees and swamping tin-roofed houses.

The port city of Gonaives bore the brunt of the storm, forcing thousands of people to seek shelter on rooftops and balconies as flood waters rose.

The UN's humanitarian co-ordinator in Haiti Joel Boutrioue told the BBC it was still difficult to get aid to thousands of people. Roads are cut off and access to some areas is only possible by air - which is limited by the available number of helicopters.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies has also launched an appeal, asking for $3.4m dollars in aid.

Haiti was first drenched by Tropical Storm Fay, before Hurricane Gustav wreaked havoc last week, with torrential rainfall over heavily deforested and hilly terrain causing floods and mudslides.

Earlier Hanna was also blamed for two deaths in Puerto Rico.

Source: BBC - Abc.Net.Au - NyTimes.Com

No comments:

Post a Comment