Friday, January 19, 2018

Isaac's toll rises in Hispaniola

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — Haitians began to dig themselves out of the mud on Sunday, one day after Tropical Storm Isaac doused the Caribbean nation and killed eight people here and another two in neighboring Dominican Republic.

With a reported total of 10 deaths for the island of Hispaniola, which is shared by the two countries, the scale of devastation was less than many people had feared.

But the capital and countryside of disaster-prone Haiti did suffer sporadic flooding, fallen poles and scores of toppled tents that housed people who lost their homes in the massive 2010 earthquake.

In the Bahamas, more than 150 illegal Haitian migrants were detained after a smuggler's sloop ran aground during the storm, officials said Sunday.

The islands' National Emergency Management Agency said the boat ran aground Saturday just off Andros Island when Isaac was southwest of the Bahamas.

Bahamas Immigration Director Jack Thompson said 152 Haitians have been detained, but the exact number of people on board has not been established. Migrants have told investigators that there were at least 170 people aboard the sloop.

Authorities plan to search for bodies, but the seas have been too rough for boats to leave port.

Joseph Edgard Celestin of Haiti's Civil Protection Office offered few details on the storm-related deaths, but said one man was swept away as he tried to cross a river in a village in the country's north.

Haiti's Civil Protection Office said in a separate report that a 51-year-old woman was killed in the southern coastal town of Marigot after a tree fell on her home. A 10-year-old girl was killed in the village of Thomazeau after a wall collapsed on her.

In neighboring Dominican Republic, police reported that two men were swept away by flooded rivers that burst their banks. One victim was identified as Pedro Peralta, a former mayor in Villa Altagracia, a town northwest of the capital of Santo Domingo.

Another male victim, whose identity was not disclosed, was swept away by the Yaguaza River, Dominican police said.

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