Haiti Raises Storm Death Toll To Nearly 800

Saturday, October 4th 2008, 8:05 am
By: News 9

(AP) The official death toll from four storms that ravaged Haiti this summer has nearly doubled to some 800 people, authorities said Friday.

Civil defense director Maria-Alta Jean Baptiste said in an interview with The Associated Press that 793 bodies have been found so far, and authorities are still looking for bodies in the mud that swamped coastal settlements.

"As we're cleaning, we don't know what we're going to find," she said.

Crews have found 466 bodies in the hard-hit town of Gonaives alone, and government workers are burying the dead immediately to avoid contamination and the spread of infectious diseases, she said.

The four tropical storms that struck in late August and early September also wiped out at least 60 percent of Haitian agriculture and destroyed roads, bridges and homes.

The government had previously said 425 people died in the storms, which left thousands homeless.

International aid and food has poured in, but the U.N. World Food Program has so far received only US$1 million of the US$54 million it requested.

(Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)