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. Hanna floods Haitain city where 3,000 died four years ago

by Staff Writers
Port-Au-Prince (AFP) Sept 2, 2008
Ten people were killed as Tropical Storm Hanna socked the north of Haiti Tuesday and officials called for help amid fears of a disaster like the one Tropical Storm Jeanne sparked four years ago.

Haiti was still reeling after Hurricane Gustav killed 77 people and left eight others missing after barreling by the south of the hemisphere's most impoverished country only a week ago.

"The situation in Gonaives is extremely urgent. I appeal for help," said Stephen Moise, mayor of the city 152 kilometers (94 miles) north of Port-au-Prince.

"Practically the whole city is flooded, there is water everywhere. The water is rising in some areas to more than two meters (six feet)," Moise told AFP by telephone.

More than 3,000 people died in Gonaives, a city of some 300,000, when it was flooded by Tropical Storm Jeanne in September 2004.

Its driving rains in the northern mountains of Haiti caused severe flooding and mudslides in the Artibonite region especially in Gonaives, Haiti's third largest city. The storm killed 3,006 people in Haiti, with 2,826 of those in Gonaives.

"The situation is critical today, it can be compared with what happened four years ago," Moise said.

Gonaives residents reached by telephone said floodwaters had reached the ceilings of some homes, forcing inhabitants to seek safety on the roof.

"I have seen about 10 bodies floating in the flooded streets of the city," Ernst Dorfeuille of the Gonaives police told AFP by phone.

Hanna lost some wind strength and was downgraded to a tropical storm Tuesday with driving rains that could spark deadly flooding in Haiti and eastern Cuba, the US National Hurricane Center warned in Miami.

With Hanna packing sustained winds of 70 miles (110 kilometers) per hour, "heavy rainfall was affecting the southeastern Bahamas, Turks and Caicos islands and Haiti," the NHC said at 1200 GMT.

"Rainfall amounts of two to four inches with maximum amounts of up to eight inches (20 centimeters) are expected over the mountainous terrain of eastern Cuba and northern portions of Hispaniola where these rains could cause life-threatening mudslides and flash flooding," the NHC warned.

"Hanna could regain hurricane strength later" Tuesday or Wednesday," the NHC added.

Officials here said some 15,000 Haitian families were affected by Gustav, which leveled some 3,000 dwellings and damaged another 11,458.

At least 77 people died in Haiti after it was hit by Gustav, which blasted Louisiana with powerful winds and rain as a Category Two hurricane on Monday. Gustav later weakened as it passed overland and was downgraded to a tropical storm.

Gustav killed a total of more than 100 people as it tore across the Caribbean and into the United States.

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15 drown as Indian flood relief boats capsize: officials
Patna, India (AFP) Sept 2, 2008
At least 15 people drowned overnight in two separate incidents in India's flood-ravaged northeast, an official said Tuesday.

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