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Wednesday, September 30, 1998 Published at 02:48 GMT 03:48 UK

World: Americas

Relief operations as hurricane toll rises

Water in the Dominican Republic's Ozama River is contaminated

Major relief operations are swinging into action as the death toll from Hurricane Georges continues to rise.

More than 380 people across the Caribbean are now known to have died after the discovery of another 60 more flood victims in a remote Haitian border town.

[ image: Salvage operations continue]
Salvage operations continue
President Bill Clinton's wife, Hillary, announced a $40m federal aid package for Puerto Rico when she visited the island to see the destruction caused by Georges.

The fund will help build temporary shelters for the thousands of people who lost their homes.

American planes are delivering $500,000 worth of supplies for storm victims in the Dominican Republic, including bottled water, building materials and plastic sheeting to roof thousands of homes.

The southern United States also suffered from the storm which deluged states around the Mississipi. Three deaths have been reported and millions of dollars of damage was caused by the vicious winds and floods.

Other countries, including France, are joining the relief effort.

Death toll rises

Officials in the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Cuba have updated figures on the devastation caused by the storm's passage through the Caribbean last week.

The death toll in the Dominican Republic - which shares the Caribbean island of Hispaniola with Haiti - has increased from 201 from 206.

Dr Yolene Vaval Surena, head of Haiti's Civil Protection Directorate, said 147 were now known to have died.

"From day to day, as we research the damage we are determining the real impact of the hurricane, and the impact is very heavy," she said.

[ image: The morning after a night on the roof in the Dominican Republic]
The morning after a night on the roof in the Dominican Republic
Haitian officals said 40 people were still missing and 167,332 people had been left homeless by the hurricane.

In Cuba officials said six people are now confirmed dead, up from five.

In Puerto Rico, 11 people were killed, according to police. In the Leeward Islands, two people were killed in the nation of Antigua and Barbuda, and four in St Kitts. One person was killed in high winds in the Bahamas.

Food for Cuba

Cuba's President, Fidel Castro, announced a food aid package for Cubans affected by the passage of the hurricane, which damaged crops and infrastructure.

The president reported extensive damage to highways, and crops of bananas, coffee, cocoa, yukka, rice and sugar. Tobacco, however, had been largely spared.

In a five-hour long speech, President Castro also offered help to the neighbouring Dominican Republic and Haiti, which fared worse in the winds.

A plane carrying doctors and medical aid has been sent from Cuba to the Dominican Republic.

"We are not preaching simply with words, but with acts," President Castro said.

But he said it would be against Cuba's "honour" to receive aid from the United States, a political foe since Castro's 1959 revolution.

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Internet Links

National Hurricane Centre: Hurricane Georges updates

Tropical Cyclones - Co-operative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies (CIMSS)


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