Haitians clean up after deadly storm; deaths at 25

AP News
Posted: Jun 08, 2011 9:53 PM
Haitians clean up after deadly storm; deaths at 25

Haitians cleaned up homes and streets Wednesday as rains let up and rivers receded following an early summer storm that caused flooding, wrecked homes and killed more than two dozen people.

Haiti's Civil Protection Department said the death toll from seven days of rain climbed to 25 and was likely to increase as Haitians searched for relatives feared dead.

Two deaths were added to the list Wednesday after residents found the bodies of a man and woman at the bottom of a ravine, said Edgar Joseph, a spokesman for the Civil Protection Department. He said six people were still missing.

Days of steady rain turned into a violent storm Monday that triggered widespread mudslides and floods in Haiti.

The storm system also caused flooding in the neighboring Dominican Republic and in Jamaica, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. A total of six people died in those places.

Dominican officials said more than 11,200 people were in shelters Wednesday night because of flooding from the week of rain. The bodies of two men were found Wednesday, raising the country's death toll to five, authorities said.

On Wednesday, crews cleared roads and repaired damaged homes throughout Haiti's capital while some families found a sorrowful ending to their search for loved ones missing since the storm.

Cherline Henry had been looking for Edgar Toussaint, her boyfriend of 18 months, when a stranger told her that two bodies were found at the bottom of a ravine in Nerette, a hillside slum southeast of downtown Port-au-Prince.

The bodies were found after an elderly woman walked through the trash-strewn valley to feed her pig. She noticed a swarm of flies hovering above a pile of debris and saw a leg, residents told The Associated Press.

People later pulled on plastic gloves and grabbed pick axes to pry free Toussaint's body and the corpse of a woman wedged under a fallen tree. Relatives identified her as Venette Morin, 46.

The two bodies were covered with one of the blue tarps that aid groups passed out after the devastating earthquake in January 2010. The sheets of plastic are used to cover flimsy shelters that house tens of thousands people left homeless by the quake.

Henry, 21, took a peek at the corpse of her boyfriend. "I just lost half my life," she said.

Temporary shelters in Thomazeau, a town northwest of the capital, continued to receive people as the United Nations' World Food Program handed out food rations. Michelet Lesly Dorce, a local representative for the Civil Protection Department, said a total of 800 people had arrived since Sunday.

That morning, Haiti's largest lake, Azuei, overflowed and flooded homes. Several hundred people left the area as a precaution because the lake has a long history of flooding.