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Hurricane in Haiti 'leaves 20 dead'

At least 20 people died when Hurricane Tomas brushed past Haiti, more than double the number initially reported, the country's civil protection department said.

Seven people remain missing and dozens were injured during the storm. More than 30,000 people remain in shelters and Tomas left nearly 6,000 families homeless. Others, already homeless from the January 12 earthquake, lost their tents.

The hurricane struck Haiti's southern peninsula on Friday and travelled up the coast, triggering floods and landslides. But its strongest winds and rain stayed far to the west of the capital, sparing most of the encampments where an estimated 1.3 million people have been living for nearly 10 months.

Officials are now turning their attention back to a worsening cholera epidemic that has killed more than 500 people and put more than 7,300 in hospital. Flooding is expected to spread the disease, while damage to roads and buildings could make it harder for sick people to get medical care.

Authorities were monitoring the cholera-laden Artibonite River on Monday after engineers let through extra water to alleviate pressure on a dam on Haiti's central plateau. Initial reports from the area indicated that flooding was minimal.

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From Belfast Telegraph