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Hurricane Sandy's death toll across the Caribbean rises to 65

By http://www.ctvnews.ca/ last modified Oct 28, 2012 07:26 PM
Hurricane Sandy, a late-season Atlantic cyclone that threatens to be one of the worst storms to hit the North East USA in decades, slogged slowly northward on Friday after killing at least 65 people in the Caribbean.

Published: 2012-10-28 00:00:00
Topics: Weather
Countries: Bahamas , Cuba , Dominican Republic , Haiti , Jamaica , Puerto Rico , USA

As Americans braced Sunday for Hurricane Sandy, Haiti was still suffering.

Officials raised the storm-related death toll across the Caribbean to 65, with 51 of those coming in Haiti, which was pelted by three days of constant rains that ended only on Friday.

As the rains stopped and rivers began to recede, authorities were getting a fuller idea of how much damage Sandy brought on Haiti. Bridges collapsed. Banana crops were ruined. Homes were underwater. Officials said the death toll might still rise.

"This is a disaster of major proportions," Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe told The Associated Press. "The whole south is under water."

The country's ramshackle housing and denuded hillsides are especially vulnerable to flooding. The bulk of the deaths were in the southern part of the country and the area around Port-au-Prince, the capital, which holds most of the 370,000 Haitians who are still living in flimsy shelters as a result of the devastating 2010 earthquake. Santos Alexis, mayor of the southern city of Leogane, said Sunday that the rivers were receding and that people were beginning to dry their belongings in the sun.

Sandy also killed 11 in Cuba, where officials said it destroyed or damaged tens of thousands of houses. Deaths were also reported in Jamaica, the Bahamas and Puerto Rico. Authorities in the Dominican Republic said the storm destroyed several bridges and isolated at least 130 communities while damaging an estimated 3,500 homes.

Forecasters said wind damage, widespread and extended power outages and coastal and inland flooding are anticipated across a broad swath of the densely populated U.S. East Coast when Sandy comes ashore over the next few days.

The late-season hybrid storm has been dubbed "Frankenstorm" by some weather watchers because it will combine elements of a tropical cyclone and a winter storm. Forecast models show it will have all of the ingredients to morph into a massive and potentially catastrophic "super storm."

On its current projected track, government forecasters said, Sandy could make landfall on Monday night or Tuesday in Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, New York or southern New England.

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