Floods Kill At Least 10 in Haitian Town; 13 Missing

Friday, October 12th 2007, 5:39 pm
By: News On 6

CABARET, Haiti (AP) _ Waters from a rain-swollen river that flooded a Haitian town killed at least 10 people and damaged dozens of homes, a government official said Friday. Residents were searching for another 13 people missing after the deluge.

Witnesses said the Bretel River burst its banks Wednesday evening, sending water 1 1/2 yards deep surging through the dirt streets of this town.

``All hell broke loose,'' said 42-year-old Terry Bien-Aime, one of many residents who piled their belongings outside to dry. ``I was scared for my life.''

Interior Minister Paul Antoine Bien-Aime told reporters in the capital of Port-au-Prince that at least 23 had died in the town. But Mary Alta Jean-Baptiste, an Interior Ministry official in charge of a team evaluating the damage, said the known death toll was 10, with at least 13 more missing.

Word of the flooding did not reach the capital, just 20 miles away, until Friday. Haiti, the Western Hemisphere's poorest country, suffers from poor roads and communications.

The floodwaters flattened banana trees and knocked down shacks of corrugated metal. It was the second time this year that the town had been damaged by serious flooding.

At least eight people had previously been reported killed by flooding caused by heavy rains in Haiti over the past two weeks.

Hait's widespread deforestation, mountainous terrain and large number of people living in shacks or poorly constructed houses make it particularly vulnerable to flooding.