4. Hurricane Sandy Death Toll Surpasses 70 in Caribbean

hurricaneThe Associated Press (AP) is reporting that the death toll in the Caribbean from Hurricane Sandy rose on Wednesday as more complete assessments emerged from throughout the region.

According to the report, two new deaths were recorded in Haiti, bringing the total for the country to 54, said Marie Alta Jean-Baptiste, director of the country’s Civil Protection agency. That means the toll for the Caribbean as a whole now climbs to 71.

Jean-Baptiste told the AP that one of the new deaths occurred during a mudslide and the other was a person who drowned trying to cross a rain-swollen river. There are still 21 people unaccounted for after the storm.

In the Bahamas, the total cost of damage to private property and public infrastructure is expected to reach as high as $300 million, 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 in damage to the island chain east of Florida. According to Fox News, Police say the hurricane apparently killed two people in the Bahamas, including the CEO of a bank who fell from his roof while he was trying to repair a window shutter as Sandy approached Thursday.

In Cuba, the government raised the number of homes damaged by Hurricane Sandy from 130,000 to 200,000. Fox News is reporting that the hurricane especially battered the provinces of Santiago de Cuba and Holguin, where the official media described the material damage as “terrible.” According to Latin America Herald Tribune, reports from local media, journalists and bloggers indicated that in Santiago de Cuba the hurricane triggered mudslides, shattered windows in tall buildings and stores and caused other damage. State phone company Etecsa reported that some 1,400 telephone poles were knocked down by the storm, which blew across eastern Cuba. Phones and electricity were gradually being restored with the help of workers brought in from other regions.

One elderly man was killed in Jamaica when a boulder rolled onto his property and crushed him as the eye of Sandy traveled over eastern Jamaica. Also, according to the Fox News report, floodwaters flattened farms, ripped roofs off houses in shantytowns and marooned rural areas.

In the Dominican Republic, the storm killed two young men who drowned while attempting to cross rivers in separate incidents. Nearly 30,000 people were evacuated due to widespread flooding in the south of the country, including parts of the capital. In Puerto Rico, the U.S. island territory was spared a direct hit but heavy rains caused flooding on the island. One death was reported, a man who was swept away in a rain-swollen river near the southern town of Juana Diaz, according to the Fox News report.

Keep visiting www.travelagentcentral.com for more updates on the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.