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. Ike death toll in Haiti climbs to 61, including many children

Hurricane Gustav could cost up to 8 billion dollars: Swiss Re
Insurance companies could be hit with 20 percent more claims on natural disasters this year, with losses from Hurricane Gustav possibily reaching 8.0 billion dollars (5.6 billion euros), reinsurer Swiss Re estimated Monday. In a presentation at an industry conference in Monte Carlo, Swiss Re said industry-wide insured losses from natural disasters between January and September 1 this year were 20 percent higher than the same period last year. These "2008 figures confirm long-term trend towards higher natural catastrophe claims," added the reinsurer. It estimated that claims arising from Hurricane Gustav in the United States and the Caribbean could reach between 4.0 to 8.0 billion dollars. Meanwhile it estimated that winter storm Emma, which hit northern Europe, could cost 1.46 billion dollars while snowstorms in China could reach 1.3 billion dollars. On Monday, German reinsurance group Hannover Re estimated that claims for damage caused by Hurricane Gustav would cost it 50-90 million euros (72-130 million dollars).
by Staff Writers
Port-Au-Prince (AFP) Sept 8, 2008
Hurricane Ike has killed 61 people in Haiti, including 57 in a single village, civil protection officials said in an updated toll given Monday.

"Fifty-seven people including many children aged one to seven are dead in Cabaret, three died in Gonaives and one further north," Nazaire Tide, a member of the Haiti's Office of Civilian Protection, told AFP.

Many houses were destroyed by flooding and mudslides in Cabaret, a village 35 kilometers (22 miles) from Port-au-Prince.

The town's food market was held Monday amid scenes of devastation, an AFP journalist saw. A huge mudslide left a gaping hole after carrying entire houses into a river.

One neighborhood was blanketed with a thick layer of mud that residents were trying to remove with shovels.

Uprooted palm trees were scattered on the ground near damaged houses, some without roofs, some having lost a section of wall.

More than 600 people have died in Haiti after four major storms hit the impoverished Caribbean nation in less than four weeks. Haiti's mountainous topography and deforestation make it especially vulnerable to landslides following heavy rainfall.

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Bahamas digs out after blast from Hurricane Ike
Freeport, Bahamas (AFP) Sept 8, 2008
The southern Bahamas was picking up the pieces Monday after Hurricane Ike blasted the chain of islands, forcing residents into shelters, damaging infrastructure and jeopardizing thousands of protected flamingos.

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