Floods swamp earthquake-ravaged Haiti, killing 23

Last Updated: Wednesday, June 8, 2011 - 13:19

Port-au-Prince: Torrential rains lashed
Haiti, flooding shanty towns, swamping the squalid camps
erected after a 2010 earthquake and killing at least 23
people, officials said.

The worst rains to hit the impoverished country this
year -- at the start of the hurricane season -- paralyzed the
capital, where most of the deaths took place, according to
officials at Haiti`s civil protection agency.

Thunderstorms were pounding several north Caribbean
islands early yesterday, but there was little chance of the
large low pressure area developing into a hurricane, according
to the US-based National Hurricane Center (NHC).

Several days of rain had already swelled rivers,
however, and the NHC warned of "flash floods and mudslides
over portions of Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica and
Cuba."

Haiti was most at risk of devastation from the wet
weather, due to its crumbling infrastructure and ramshackle
shelters for tens of thousands left homeless after the
catastrophic 7.0 magnitude earthquake in January 2010.

Health officials here also fear an uptick in
fatalities from a cholera outbreak that erupted last October.
The diarrheal illness thrives in crowded areas where
people rely on contaminated water.

The death toll in Haiti included two people who died
as waters rose in the tent camp near the ruined presidential
palace and two children who were buried when their home
collapsed, officials said.

Nadia Lochard, from the civil protection agency, said
13 people were killed in the upscale suburb of Petionville,
"most when their houses collapsed or were swept away in
mudslides."

Newly elected President Michel Martelly headed to the
city`s poorest neighborhood, Cite Soleil, which officials said
was completely swamped by the rainfall and where people sought
higher ground on the roofs of their homes.

PTI



First Published: Wednesday, June 8, 2011 - 13:19

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