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25569: (news) Chamberlain: Haiti-Drowned migrants (fwd)
From: Greg Chamberlain <GregChamberlain@compuserve.com>
PORT-AU-PRINCE, July 4 (AP) -- A boat carrying dozens of migrants
fleeing Haiti sank off the island's coast, killing two people and leaving
11 others feared dead, a U.N. official said Monday.
The boat left the northern region of Cap-Haitien on Saturday and was
heading toward Turks and Caicos, said Damian Onses-Cardona, spokesman for
the U.N. mission in Haiti. Officials did not know immediately what caused
the boat to sink.
Haitian authorities found the bodies of two people and 11 others who
disappeared were presumed dead, Onses-Cardona said. Twenty-three people
survived, he said.
Elima Joseph, director-general of the mayor's office in Cape Haitien,
put the number of deaths at 19. He said the victims were all from about 19
to 25 years old.
There was no description of the boat, but the U.N. spokesman noted that
Haitians nearly always attempt to flee in rickety wooden vessels.
Attempts to leave Haiti illegally have risen dramatically since the
February 2004 rebellion that ousted president Jean-Bertrand Aristide, the
country's first democratically elected leader, now in exile.
Haiti is the poorest country in the Americas, and most of the population
is unemployed. Hundreds of people have been killed since the uprising,
mostly in politically motivated clashes between street gangs, police and
the 7,400-strong U.N. peacekeeping force.