Officials in Haiti say several days of heavy rains have killed at least 11 people, with nearly half the deaths occurring in the northern Artibonite area.

Authorities said Thursday that hundreds of homes have been flooded or destroyed by the torrential rains pounding Haiti ahead of the Atlantic hurricane season, which starts June 1. Last year, four storms devastated Haiti, killing hundreds of people and wiping out 15 percent of the country's economic output.

Haiti is the Western Hemisphere's poorest country. It is vulnerable to floods in part because of massive deforestation and poorly constructed houses.

In April, Haiti received $324 million in new aid commitments from international donors. Earlier this week, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon named former U.S. President Bill Clinton as his special envoy to Haiti.

Both men visited Haiti in March to refocus international attention on restoring economic security to the Caribbean country.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.