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Heavy rains leave 11 dead in Haiti: official

world Updated: May 22, 2009 07:54 IST

AFP
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Several days of heavy rain has swamped Haiti and left 11 people dead across the poverty-seeped Caribbean nation, officials have said.

"We have counted 11 deaths in four regions of the country since the beginning of the week," Alta Jean-Baptiste, director of Haiti's Civil Protection Agency, told AFP, on Thursday.

According to Jean-Baptiste, five people died in the department of Artibonite, whose main city Gonaives was left devastated last year by three successive hurricanes.

Hundreds of homes were flooded and dozens destroyed in the constant downpour. Some 40 per cent of the southern city of Cayes was underwater, authorities said.

President Rene Preval visited Gonaives last week to assess efforts to shore up the city's drainage system ahead of this year's hurricane season, which officially begins in late June in Haiti.

In March, UN chief Ban Ki-moon and Bill Clinton -- who was this week appointed UN special envoy to the island -- toured Haiti together and urged the international community to continue to aid the impoverished Caribbean country.

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