As rescuers search, death toll nears 100

first_img“This is horrifying,” said committee official Brooklin Rivera, who lives in the area. Felix damaged or destroyed 8,000 houses in and around Puerto Cabezas and 18,000 Nicaraguans are living in shelters, civil defense officials said. Many of the victims were Miskito Indians who had tried to flee the Category 5 hurricane. Officials believed more dead would be found by teams combing the coast stretching across the Nicaragua-Honduras border. At least 32 people were still missing after their village was destroyed and the boats they fled in capsized. Many of the 52 survivors who washed ashore or were found clinging to debris were being treated for dehydration in the seaside Honduran village of Villeda Morales. Rescue and aid was arriving slowly in the impoverished region, where descendants of Indians, European settlers and African slaves live in stilt homes on island reefs and in small hamlets, surviving by fishing and diving for lobster. Honduran Col. Saul Orlando Coca said U.S. and Honduran military personnel were patrolling the sea and inlets with helicopters and boats while soldiers walked the shore on foot. The ocean was filled with debris, preventing a rescue mission from going ashore at Sandy Bay, Nicaragua, the village where the eye of Felix made landfall with catastrophic 160 mph winds and a storm surge estimated at 18 feet above normal tides.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! THE ASSOCIATED PRESS PUERTO CABEZAS, Nicaragua – The death toll from Hurricane Felix neared 100 Thursday night as U.S., Honduran and Nicaraguan soldiers searched remote jungle beaches and the open sea for survivors and the dead. Villagers in canoes helped, paddling through waters thick with fallen trees. Two days after the storm hit, dozens more bodies were recovered along the Miskito coastline that stretches across the Nicaragua-Honduras border, many found floating in the sea, emergency officials said. Abelino Cox, a spokesman for the Regional Emergency Committee, said the death toll from Felix had risen to at least 98. The previous toll was at least 65 dead. The storm also destroyed the ethnic Zumo and Mayagna Indian community of Awastingni, located 55 miles northwest of Puerto Cabezas, Cox said. Fourteen people from there were missing. HURRICANE: The U.S. is helping efforts in the disaster area in the aftermath of the storm. By Bayardo Mendoza and Freddy Cuevas last_img

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