NASSAU, Bahamas (AP):
Hurricane Sandy raged through The Bahamas on Friday after leaving 39 people dead across the Caribbean, following a path that could see it blend with a winter storm to hit the United States' east coast with a super-storm next week.
The hurricane knocked out power, flooded roads and cut off islands in the storm-hardened Bahamas as it charged through Cat Island and Eleuthera, with authorities reporting one death in the scattered archipelago.
Sandy, which weakened to a Category One hurricane Thursday night, caused havoc in Cuba earlier that day, killing 11 people in eastern Santiago and Guantanamo provinces as its howling winds and rain toppled thousands of houses and ripped off roofs. Authorities said it was Cuba's deadliest storm since July 2005, when Category Five Hurricane Dennis killed 16 people and caused US$2.4 billion in damage.
The death toll was still rising in impoverished Haiti, reaching 25 yesterday as word of disasters reached officials and rain continued to fall.
VULNERABLE TO FLOODS
Joseph Edgard Celestin, a spokesman for Haiti's civil protection office, said some people died trying to cross storm-swollen rivers. While the storm's center missed the country as it passed on Wednesday, Haiti's ramshackle housing and denuded hillsides make it especially vulnerable to flood damage.
Officials at a morgue in the western town of Grand Goave said a mudslide crashed through a wooden home on Thursday, killing 40-year-old Jacqueline Tatille and her four children, ranging in ages from five to 17.
"If the rain continues, for sure we'll have more people die," said morgue deputy Joseph Franck Laporte. "The earth cannot hold the rain."
Sandy also killed a man in Jamaica on Wednesday when a boulder crashed through his house, and police in The Bahamas said a 66-year-old man died after falling from his roof in upscale Lyford Cay late Thursday while trying to repair a window shutter. Police in Puerto Rico said a man in his 50s was swept away yesterday by a swollen river in the southern town of Juana Diaz, where rain from Sandy's outer bands has been steadily falling.