Sunday, September 19, 2004

Tropical Storm Jeanne pictures from Haiti


A woman injured in the flooding from Tropical Storm Jeanne receives medical treatment by a UN in front of the UN base in Gonaives, Haiti, Sunday, Sept. 19, 2004. The bodies of two victims are seen in the background. Jeanne killed at least 50 people in Haiti after battering the neighboring Dominican Republic with its lashing winds and deadly storm surge before it pushed off into the open sea on Sunday, officials said. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)


The bodies of two people killed in the flooding from Tropical Storm Jeanne lie in front of the UN base in Gonaives, Haiti, Sunday, Sept. 19, 2004. Jeanne killed at least 50 people in Haiti after battering the neighboring Dominican Republic with its lashing winds and deadly storm surge before it pushed off into the open sea on Sunday, officials said. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)


Estimated 90 Dead in Haiti from Tropical Storm Jeanne



By Joseph Guyler Delva
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, Sept 19 (Reuters) - Floods and mudslides from Tropical Storm Jeanne killed about 90 people in Haiti and more were missing in the Caribbean nation on Sunday as the storm swirled in the Atlantic east of the Bahamas, a civil protection official said.

Jeanne previously killed 11 people and destroyed hundreds of houses in the Dominican Republic, which shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti.

Two days of steady rain sent torrents down the mountains in the Artibonite and Northwest provinces of Haiti, causing rivers to burst their banks and triggering mudslides, civil defense officials said.

U.N. resident coordinator Adama Guindo said members of the Brazilian-led international force trying to restore stability in Haiti after a revolt led to the departure in February of former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, told him about 50 people were killed around Gonaives.

The city of 200,000 people was covered with mud and a delegation of officials could not leave the high ground to enter. Many people had climbed onto roofs to escape the floodwaters and were stranded there, the officials said.

The island of La Tortue off Haiti's north coast was barely visible under the water, according to officials who flew over it in a helicopter.

Homes were washed away, cars were caught in the rising water and telephone service was cut off, making it difficult to communicate with emergency officials in the region.

"It's incredible what happened. We are going to help with the assistance. There are a lot of people suffering, they'll need our help." said Brazilian Gen. Augusto Heleno Ribeiro Pereira, commander of the international force.

Officials with the Office of Civil Protection said about 30 people were also killed in flooding in the Northwest province of Haiti and others are believed missing. About 10 deaths were reported in other areas, and at least 380 were injured, officials said.

Interim Prime Minister Gerard Latortue said he would declare a state of emergency, and the World Health Organization was sending a team to distribute medical kits.

Haiti is vulnerable to flooding because it has been severely deforested.

Jeanne, which killed two people in Puerto Rico last week, swept north of Hispaniola during the weekend. On Sunday, it was spinning northward in the Atlantic Ocean about 145 miles (230 km) east-northeast of the central Bahamian island of San Salvador and had top sustained winds of 50 mph (80 kph).

The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami expected it to turn to the northeast, away from the Bahamas by late Monday. That path also would spare Florida, which has been devastated by three hurricanes in the last five weeks.

Hurricane Karl strengthened into a fierce Category 4 storm on the five-step scale of hurricane intensity with 135 mph (215 kph) winds. But it was far out in the Atlantic 1,155 miles (1,850 km) east of the Caribbean islands of the Lesser Antilles, and was expected to stay far away from land.

Tropical Storm Jeanne batters Dominican Republic


Amarilis Santos carries wood from her destroyed house in Ramon Santana, 90 kilometers east of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic on Saturday, Sep. 18, 2004. Hurricane Jeanne hit various parts of the Caribbean nation, downing hundreds of trees and telephone polls, flooding entire communities and leaving at least seven dead. (AP Photo/Miguel Gomez)


Angel Jefe cleans mud from her home in Ramon Santana, 90 kilometers east of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic Saturday, Sept. 18, 2004.A tropical storm once again, Jeanne headed for the Bahamas on Saturday after rampaging through the Dominican Republic. Forecasters said it was too soon to predict if the storm would hit the United States. (AP Photo/Miguel Gomez)


Boys ride their bikes through flood waters in Puerto Rico. US President George W. Bush designated Puerto Rico a disaster zone, freeing up federal emergency funds to help the US island commonwealth in its recovery efforts after Hurricane Jeanne.(AFP/Getty Images/File/Jose Jiminez)


Erick Silvestre, 14, left and his brother Jemy Silvestre rest near their destroyed home in Ramon Santana, 90 kilometers east of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic Saturday, Sept. 18, 2004. A tropical storm once again, Jeanne headed for the Bahamas on Saturday after rampaging through the Dominican Republic. Forecasters said it was too soon to predict if the storm would hit the United States. (AP Photo/Miguel Gomez)

TROPICAL STORM JEANNE can't decide what it is going to do next

Tropical storm Jeanne or Hurricane Jeanne???
Head for Florida or head out to sea???


MIAMI - (KRT) - Tropical Storm Jeanne edged away from the southeastern Bahamas and, to some extent, became lost at sea Saturday. Forecasters acknowledged they could not reliably predict its next move.

The possibilities ranged from the best case - a sharp turn northeast and away from land - to the worst case - an advance on Florida or another state in the Southeast. The most likely outcome appeared to be a slow, indecisive cruise northward, at least temporarily away from the Bahamas and Florida.

"It is probably obvious that this is not a high confidence forecast," said hurricane specialist James Franklin of the National Hurricane Center in West Miami-Dade County.

At issue was a complicated atmospheric ballet between Jeanne, the remnants of Ivan and a large high pressure system. Each of a dozen computerized forecast models predicted a different outcome.

At any rate, the southeastern Bahamas were under a tropical storm warning. Residents of the Acklins, Crooked Island, the Inaguas, the Ragged Islands and Mayaguana shuttered homes and businesses.

"We boarded up," said Eleanor Walkine, who along with her husband, Kirk, owns the five-room Walkine Guest House in Matthew Town, on Great Inagua, an island of 1,200 residents. "People are concerned about it."

Last week, Jeanne swept across Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, killing eight people, flooding roads and homes, and causing wide-ranging power outages.

President Bush declared Puerto Rico a disaster area Saturday, freeing up emergency funds.
BY MARTIN MERZER
Knight Ridder Newspapers