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Severe Weather Kills at Least 500 in Haiti, Dominican Republic - 2004-05-25

Rescue workers in Haiti and the Dominican Republic are searching for survivors after floods killed at least 500 people and left thousands homeless.

Officials say days of torrential rain resulted in floods and landslides near the border between the two nations, where a river burst its banks Monday and swept away hundreds of people and their homes.

At least 200 people are reported missing in both countries, which form the island of Hispaniola. Relatives are said to be searching morgues for family members.

On the Dominican side, many of the victims came from the border town of Jimani. Television images showed scenes of dozens of mudcaked bodies - including those of children - piled up in a morgue. The devastation also left scores of people dead in Fonds-Verrettes, Haiti.

Interim Haitian Prime Minister Gerard Latortue traveled to Fonds-Verrettes Tuesday to view the devastation. A helicopter from the U.S.-led multinational force in Haiti also flew emergency supplies to the area.

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said he was saddened by the heavy loss of life. He also said U.N. teams in Haiti and the Dominican Republic are currently assessing the extent of needs created by the flooding.