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Hurricane Matthew damages in Haiti tally nearly $2 bn
by Staff Writers
Port-Au-Prince (AFP) Oct 29, 2016

Egypt floods killed at least 22: new toll
Cairo (AFP) Oct 30, 2016 - At least 22 people were killed and 72 injured in flooding caused by torrential rains in Egypt, authorities said on Sunday, updating an earlier toll of 18 dead.

Health ministry spokesman Khaled Megahed said the death toll could rise as some families may not have reported the loss of relatives who have already been buried since the flooding began on Thursday.

On Saturday, the government announced 50 million pounds ($5.6 million/five million euros) in aid for flood-hit areas which include the southern province of Sohag, South Sinai and along the Red Sea coast.

The Al-Masry Al-Youm and Al-Watan newspapers said residents in Ras Gharib angry at the government response on Saturday blocked a convoy transporting Prime Minister Sharif Ismail.

Ras Gharib, in the Gulf of Suez, was the worst hit area with nine people reported killed.

But a health official in the Red Sea province, where Ras Gharib is located, told AFP that the death toll has risen to 10, with 32 people injured.

The heavy rain and floodwaters damaged houses in the coastal town, where fast-flowing water surged through streets, stacking cars by the side of roads and in some cases leaving vehicles almost fully submerged.

Among those killed in the disaster were six people whose bus overturned on a flooded road in Sohag.

Almost every year, autumn and winter rains cause flooding in Egypt, especially in areas with poor infrastructure.

The country's worst flooding, in November 1994, led to the deaths of at least 270 people in the village of Darnaka in Assyut province.

Hurricane Matthew's devastating passage over southern Haiti on October 4 caused nearly $2 billion in damages, Haitian authorities announced Friday.

Studies by the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) put the estimated cost of damage and economic losses at 124 billion Haitian gourdes ($1.89 billion), officials with the Ministry of Economy and Finance told a news conference.

The storm, which killed 546 people according to official figures, battered an already fragile economy -- one of the poorest in the world -- with losses representing roughly one-fifth of the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the officials said.

The southern region of Haiti, considered the country's breadbasket, was particularly hard hit by winds of 150 miles per hour (250 kilometers per hour) and torrential rains.

The agricultural sector alone suffered losses estimated at nearly $600 million. And more than 175,000 people lost their homes, with those losses also estimated at close to $600 million, economists say.

The devastation comes as the country is in the midst of an electoral crisis.

The first round of presidential elections in 2015 had been canceled because of massive fraud and rescheduled for October 9 of this year.

But the hurricane's arrival forced a new postponement, with the successive rounds now set for November 20 and January 29, 2017.

The biggest challenge for election officials will be to find suitable voting sites: more than 500 schools -- traditionally used on election day -- were damaged or destroyed.

Meanwhile, Haiti's economic minister denounced misuse of humanitarian aid, sometimes for political purposes.

"We're taking every possible measure to change that," said the minister, Yves Romain Bastien.

But nearly a month after the hurricane, anger is mounting over the slow arrival of aid.

An adolescent was killed and three people wounded Tuesday in a small southwestern town, Dame-Marie, when fighting erupted as food was being distributed.

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