Tropical storm Hanna has so far caused the deaths of 90 people in Haiti, 37 of them were killed in Gonaïves, the country's third city. Hundreds of houses have been destroyed and tens of thousands of Haitians have sought safety on rooftops and in temporary shelters.
Floodwaters frustrated efforts by Argentine peacekeepers to distribute food Thursday at orphanages in Gonaives marooned by Tropical Storm Hanna. The peacekeepers hunkered down in their base as people begged for food and water outside.
Half the homes in the low-lying city of 160,000 remain flooded in Hanna's wake, estimated Lt. Sergio Hoj, spokesman for the Argentine battalion, part of a United Nations contingent on the island. Many houses were torn apart. Families huddled on rooftops, overturned cars were everywhere, and televisions floated in the brown water.
At least 137 people died when Hanna struck Haiti, 102 of them in Gonaives and its surroundings, officials said Thursday.
Some 250,000 people are affected in the Gonaives region, including 70,000 in 150 shelters across the city, according to an international official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information.
Forecasters warned Hurricane Ike could hit the Western hemisphere's poorest country next week.
Hanna swirled over Haiti for four days, dumping vast amounts of water, blowing down fruit trees and ruining stores of food as it swamped tin-roofed houses.
Many of the thousands of people who fled to rooftops, balconies and higher ground have gone without food for days, and safe drinking water was in short supply as the fetid carcasses of drowned farm animals bobbed in soupy floodwaters.
Notes: Various sources