Ike Death Toll Rises

CABARET, Haiti — At least 58 people have died in Haiti as Hurricane Ike’s torrential rains sent floodwaters gushing into homes in the island nation.

Most of the deaths came in an area north of Port-au-Prince. A swollen river unleashed mudslides and floods that crushed homes, sending people fleeing into the night.

Authorities in an area above Haiti’s coastal floodplain have opened an overflowing dam, even though it could possibly damage a farming area whose revival is key to rescuing the starving country.

While officials did not have immediate word on the situation below the dam, the nation’s agriculture minister is urging residents to “evacuate as soon as you can.”

But in badly-flooded Gonaives (goh-nah-EEV’), the floodwaters are receding today. Residents who took refuge in the mountains are walking back to their mud-filled homes.

In all, four storms in less than a month have killed at least 319 people in Haiti.