Floods kill at least 31 in Haiti -- official

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PORT-AU-PRINCE, Oct 12 (Reuters) Flooding triggered by torrential rains killed at least 23 people in a village in central Haiti on Thursday, a government official said today.

The loss of life in Cabaret, nestled in mountains about 19 miles (30 km) north of the capital Port-au-Prince, brought the toll from floods and mudslides across much of Haiti over the last two weeks to at least 31, civil protection officials said.

Forecasters said today there was no end in sight to the downpours lashing the Caribbean country and some of its neighbours.

''In the Cabaret area alone, 23 people are confirmed dead but there could be more and we are still in the process of assessing the situation,'' Interior Minister Paul Antoine Bien-Aime told local radio.

He said efforts were under way to distribute food, water and other supplies to the village, where at least 1,000 people have been made homeless.

Heavy rains have also caused havoc in Cuba and Jamaica.

But Haiti, the poorest country in the Americas, is far more vulnerable to deadly floods because about 90 per cent of its forests have been cleared, mostly to make charcoal for cooking.

In 2004, flooding triggered by the passage of Tropical Storm Jeanne in September killed around 3,000 people in the port city of Gonaives, while spring flooding just a few months before had killed another 2,000 in the south of the country.

Reuters SYU DB2043

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