Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Sandy Caribbean death toll rises

Downed banana trees lie on a farm damaged by the heavy rains from Hurricane Sandy in Gran Goave, Haiti (AP)

The death toll in the Caribbean from Hurricane Sandy has risen and estimates of damage and destruction it caused grew larger as more complete assessments emerged from throughout the region.

Two new deaths were recorded in Haiti, bringing the total for the country to 54 and for the whole of the Caribbean to 71.

Haiti was able to revise the death toll as rivers receded, allowing officials to travel through the storm-drenched southern peninsula.

Sandy drenched the country's south with more than 20 inches of rain in 24 hours. President Michel Martelly has declared a month-long state of emergency.

In the Bahamas the total cost of damage to private property and public infrastructure is expected to reach as high as 300 million dollars, according to a report from the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility, a risk pool for 16 governments in the Caribbean.

That total would be higher than last year's Hurricane Irene, which caused about 250 million dollars in damage to the island chain east of Florida.

The damage estimates do not include tourism losses, which are expected to be significant in the case of Sandy. Minister of Tourism Obediah Wilchcombe has said the country experienced thousands of cancellations some resorts were forced to compensate people who were stranded by the storm.

In Cuba, the government raised the number of homes damaged by Hurricane Sandy from 130,000 to 200,000.

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