The US, Honduran and Nicaraguan soldiers searched remote jungle beaches and the open sea on Wednesday for survivors and cadavers after Hurricane Felix claimed at least 98 lives, many of them Miskito Indians who died fleeing the Category 5 storm.
Two days after the storm hit, dozens more bodies were recovered along the Miskito coastline that stretches across the Nicaragua-Honduras border, including at least 44 indigenous fishermen whose bodies were found floating at sea, emergency officials said.
Abelino Cox, a spokesman for the Regional Emergency Committee, said the death toll from Felix had risen to at least 98, including two people who died in the village of Sing Sing, 60 kilometers (40 miles) north of Puerto Cabezas.
The storm also completely destroyed the ethnic Zumo and Mayagna Indian community of Awastingni, located 90 kilometers (55 miles) northwest of Puerto Cabezas, Cox said. Fourteen members of the community were missing. "This is horrifying," said committee official Brooklin Rivera, who lives in the area.
Felix damaged or destroyed 8,000 houses in and around Puerto Cabezas and 18,000 Nicaraguans are living in shelters, civil defence officials said.
Earlier on Thursday, rescuers found at least 25 bodies floating in waters off Honduras' coast and another 32 people were still missing after their village was destroyed and the boats they fled on capsized. Some 52 survivors washed ashore or were found clinging to debris.