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 » 2006 Forecast  | Saffir-Simpson scale  |  Your stories

Storm kills at least 500 in Haiti


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GONAIVES, Haiti (CNN) -- Aid workers and Haitian authorities reported Monday that at least 500 people have died in the aftermath of floods and mudslides from Tropical Storm Jeanne last week, a United Nations spokesman said.

"We still are collecting more bodies inside houses and so on, so it may even go higher," said Toussaint Kongo-Doudou, a spokesman for the U.N. Stabilization Mission in Haiti.

Flooding caused most of the deaths in the northern city of Gonaives, but some victims were believed to have died in mudslides after the storm dumped up to 13 inches of rain on the area.

The storm's floodwaters were receding Monday, Kongo-Doudou said, "but there's still water all over the streets."

"Yesterday we were talking about 9 feet of water. It's about 6 feet now," he said.

Kongo-Doudou said earlier that about 80,000 of the city's 100,000 Gonaives residents were affected by the flooding.

Kongo-Doudou said about one ton of medical supplies had been dropped by aircraft in the area.

A U.N. relief team made up of workers from the World Food Program, the Red Cross and CARE arrived on the outskirts of the city to distribute food and water but were unable to enter the city because of the flooding, he said.

"Relief is going smoothly, and I think it's well coordinated," Kongo-Doudou said.

Jeanne regained hurricane status Monday with top sustained winds of 85 mph (140 kph), according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida.

But the storm, which hit Haiti and the Dominican Republic on Friday, was moving northeast into open water and posed no threat to land, forecasters reported. Earlier it swept over Puerto Rico.

The storm picked up strength as it headed out into open waters Sunday night and Monday morning.

As of 5 p.m. ET Monday, Jeanne was 370 miles (592 kilometers) east-northeast of Great Abaco Island in the Bahamas.


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