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Hurricane floods quake-hit town

Hurricane Tomas has flooded the earthquake-shattered remains of a Haitian town, forcing families who had already lost their homes in one disaster to flee another.

Driving winds and storm surge battered Leogane, a seaside town west of the capital Port-au-Prince that was near the epicentre of the January 12 earthquake and was 90% destroyed.

Dozens of families in one earthquake refuge camp took their belongings through thigh-high water to high ground

"We got flooded out and we're just waiting for the storm to pass. There's nothing we can do," said Johnny Joseph, a 20-year-old resident.

The storm, with 85mph winds, was battering the western tip of Haiti's southern peninsula and the cities of Jeremie and Les Cayes.

One man drowned while trying to cross a river in a car in the rural area of Grand-Anse, said civil protection official Pierre Andre. The hurricane had earlier killed at least 14 people in the eastern Caribbean.

The centre of the storm was 157 miles from Port-au-Prince, draping black clouds over the city and dropping a steady rain with occasional bursts of wind. There were no immediate reports of damage.

The US National Hurricane Centre in Miami predicted dangerous storm surges along the coast and possible flash floods and mudslides in mountainous areas.

Haiti's civil protection department had urged people living in camps for Haitians made homeless by the January 12 earthquake to go to the homes of friends and family - though many had not heeded the advice.

Buses began circulating around the camps just after dark on Thursday night to take residents away, but few were willing to go. Four civil protection buses that pulled up at a camp in the Canape-Vert district left with only about five passengers on them.


From Belfast Telegraph