By AMY BRACKEN, Associated Press Writer
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – The toll of dead and missing from floods that ravaged parts of Haiti and the Dominican Republic was set at more than 3,300 on Friday as aid workers reached the most remote areas.
In Haiti, the official death toll was at 1,191 and the number of missing at 1,484. The figures on the Dominican side of the border were 395 dead and 274 missing.
That brought the overall toll to at least 3,344 from flooding caused by days of rains that unleased torrents of water and mudslides on the border area of Hispaniola island nearly two weeks ago.
The new official figures totaling 1,586 confirmed dead in both countries is lower than the 1,700 reported earlier, a figure based on accounts by the government, witnesses and journalists.
“The death toll is higher than expected, and surely it will continue to rise,” said Marko Kokic, a representative of the International Federation of Red Cross Services.
Aid workers said hundreds of victims washed away in floodwaters or buried in mudslides will probably never be found.
Red Cross workers found 17 bodies Thursday as they took a boat through the southern Haitian town of Mapou, still submerged following the May 24 floods.d
Many decomposing corpses were hurriedly buried in mass graves and wherever they were found ? some before they could be counted, Dominican Emergency Commission chief Radhames Lora Salcedo said.
Officials said the floods damaged or destroyed thousands of homes on both sides of the border. Crops were washed away along with numerous livestock.
Among the living, thousands remain in desperate need. Haiti’s Civil Protection Agency estimated 31,000 Haitians were affected by one of the worst natural disasters to strike the Caribbean.
The Red Cross said more than 6,000 families need food and shelter between the hardest-hit Haitians towns of Mapou and Fond Verrettes, about 13 miles apart.
Associated Press Writer Jose P. Monegro contributed to this report from in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.