Children were torn from parents' arms by surging floodwater as Tropical Storm Noel continued to drench Hispaniola yesterday and churned toward the Bahamas, where it may reach hurricane strength when it makes landfall today. Flooding and mudslides in the Dominican Republic and Haiti pushed the death toll in the region to 81. Rescue efforts have been hampered by impassable roads.
A swollen river swept away the hamlet of Piedra Blanca in the central Dominican Republic, where a number of children were lost to rapidly rising water. "The river tore her from my hands as I held her," one distraught mother told AP. Flooding in the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince, caused houses to collapse and stranded many on rooftops. Florida authorities warned of coastal flooding and rough seas.