Haiti Flood Toll Tops
300 From Jeanne

By Joseph Guyler Delva
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (Reuters) -- More than 300 people died in Haiti from flooding and mudslides triggered by Tropical Storm Jeanne, according to aid workers who said half of the northern city of Gonaives was still underwater.
"We have counted 250 bodies at the hospital morgue in Gonaives," U.N. spokesman Toussaint Congo-Doudou said after heavy rains sent a wall of muddy water crashing through northern towns over the weekend.
U.N. peacekeepers had unconfirmed reports of another 150 dead in Gonaives, said U.N. coordinator Adama Guindo.
The northern city was the birthplace of Haiti's independence from France 200 years ago and it was where an armed revolt began this year that led to the ouster of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
Forty-seven people were also confirmed killed in the northwest province, around the town of Port-de-Paix, said Henry Max Thelus, a government official. Eight deaths were recorded elsewhere, bringing the total confirmed toll to 305.
Interim Prime Minister Gerard Latortue declared three days of national mourning.
Half of Gonaives remained under water, and 80 percent of its inner urban population of over 100,000 had been affected by the floods, which at one point forced hundreds of people to take cover on the roofs of their homes, said Anne Poulsen, spokeswoman for the U.N.'s World Food Program in Haiti.
Twelve trucks carrying 40 metric tons of food would leave the capital Port-au-Prince Monday and head to Gonaives, said Poulsen.
The World Health Organization planned to deliver medicine, and 15 trucks from the Brazilian-led U.N. force had gone to reinforce a detachment of Argentine peacekeepers stationed in the city.
"It's not just people's houses, it's also crops and livestock that have been washed away. So it will take quite some months before people will be able to cope by themselves again," Poulsen said. "Nature is tough on Haiti."
Haiti, the poorest country in the Americas, is frequently lashed by flash floods and mudslides because of extensive deforestation. Around 2,000 Haitians died when extensive floods washed away villages near the Dominican-Haitian border in May.
Congo-Doudou said that at the height of the flooding, the water was 9 feet deep in Gonaives and the current was so strong it swept away heavy military trucks. U.N. helicopters were used to pluck people from their rooftops.
A woman who was about to give birth in the street as muddy waters swirled around her legs was rescued by U.N. police.
The fresh blow from nature came on top of bloody political conflict that saw Aristide flee into exile on Feb. 29. A Brazilian-led U.N. force is trying to keep the peace. Jeanne, which last Thursday briefly became a hurricane with winds in excess of 75 mph, also killed 11 people in the Dominican Republic, which shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti, and two in the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico.
The latest cyclone in an unusually busy Atlantic hurricane season, the storm was moving slowly northward to the east of the Bahamas at 11 a.m. on Monday, with maximum sustained winds of 65 mph (100 kph).
It presented no immediate threat to land, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said, and was expected to swing to the northeast. That would spare Florida, hit by three big hurricanes in the past five weeks.
Likewise, powerful Hurricane Karl presented no immediate threat to land as it swirled in the open Atlantic, 1,010 miles east-northeast of the Lesser Antilles, with winds of 120 mph.
Meanwhile, a new tropical storm formed in the Atlantic on Monday. Tropical Storm Lisa was 810 miles west of the Cape Verde islands by 11 a.m., with 60 mph (95 kph) as it began to take a westerly track that would move it through the Caribbean toward the Gulf of Mexico.
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