Haiti: Death toll soars as rescuers search rubble
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Hundreds have died and an unknown number of people are missing following an earthquake in Haiti on Saturday. Hospitals are already overwhelmed with patients due to the quake, but there are fears Tropical Depression Grace could put healthcare services under even more pressure. Along with strong winds and treacherous surf conditions, there are concerns over rainfall totals and subsequent landslides.
Tropical Depression Grace is expected to impact parts of the Caribbean on Monday and in the days to follow.
In its latest advisory at 2pm EDT (7pm BST), the US National Hurricane Center (NHC) said Tropical Depression Grace has sparked heavy rain westward across southern Haiti.
Later on Monday and into the night, Grace is forecast to pass over or near the Tiburon Peninsula of Haiti.
The NHC has warned of “flash flooding and mudslides” across the Dominican Republic and Haiti on Monday and Tuesday.
In its outlook for Tropical Depression Grace on Monday, the NHC said: “On the forecast track, the centre of Grace will move over or near the Tiburon Peninsula of Haiti this afternoon and tonight, and then pass between Jamaica, Cuba, and the Cayman Islands on Tuesday and Wednesday.”
Tropical Storm warnings and watches have been issued for nations such as Haiti, the Cayman Islands, Jamaica and several Cuban provinces.
As of 2pm EDT, the entire coast of Haiti was under a Tropical Storm Watch, meaning that tropical storm conditions are possible within the watch area, generally within 48 hours.
Grace was tracking with maximum sustained wind speeds near 35mph, but the NHC said higher gusts were recorded.
According to the latest advisory, Tropical Depression Grace is forecast to strengthen over the next few days.
Grace is expected to upgrade to Tropical Storm status again by Tuesday.
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In terms of rainfall, the NHC forecast five to 10 inches of rain for Haiti and the Dominican Republic through Tuesday.
In southern areas, isolated maximum totals of 15 inches of rainfall are forecast on Tuesday.
The NHC also warned of “life-threatening surf and rip current conditions” in affected areas.
Health and aid workers have rushed to get flights to Haiti amid the storm’s approach.
Houses and buildings have collapsed following the earthquake, and local hospitals have suffered damage.
Prime Minister Ariel Henry said there was no time to lose with the rescue effort.
He wrote on Twitter: “From this Monday, we will move faster. Aid provision is going to be accelerated.
“We will multiply efforts tenfold to reach as many victims as possible with aid.”
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