By MICHAEL NORTON Associated Press Writer PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) _ Floodwaters unleashed by Hurricane Georges washed away much of a low-lying town in Haiti, killing at least 85 people, U.N. civilian police said. Others were missing and feared dead. The discovery of more flood victims in Fonds Verrettes, 50 miles east of Port-au-Prince, the capital, pushed the nation's storm death toll from 87 to 147, the government said Tuesday.At least 40 others were missing in Haiti, the Western Hemisphere's poorest nation.Rains began falling in the town, which was built on a dry river bed, when George was pounding the neighboring Dominican Republic on Sept. 22.Rising waters sliced through the streets that night, demolishing 100 houses and damaging 200 more, U.N. police instructor Hubert Ouellette said.``A lot of people were asleep in their homes, covered by darkness. The water built up fast and strong, even moving rocks,'' he said after returning from the devastated town Tuesday.The day of the flooding was a market day. Many merchants from nearby regions, unable to return home because of the rains,had bedded down along the streets.The La Croix Catholic church and the Nazarene Baptist Church were totally destroyed, as well as the town clinic, said Ouellette, who is in Haiti to help train and monitor Haiti's fledgling national police force.In some places the flood cut a 35-feet-deep trench in the river bed, undermining the foundation of buildings, he said.
For decades, poor peasants have been cutting down pine trees to make charcoal and supplement their meager income.Because the highlands surrounding Fonds Verrettes have no forest cover to absorb torrential rains, all the water came crashing into the town.
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