A Haitian woman removes mud-covered clothing from her house, which was flooded when Tropical Storm Isaac swept through the area
Catholic agencies are working to assess damage in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Isaac's pass over the Caribbean, where at least 24 people died and tens of thousands were evacuated, reports the Catholic News Service.
The storm left widespread flooding and wind damage in Cuba and Hispaniola, the island shared by the Dominican Republic and Haiti, before turning north toward the US Gulf Coast, where it is expected to make landfall tonight.
The islands largely escaped a direct hit, however, as the storm's centre passed south of Hispaniola before scraping the northwest coast of Cuba.
"The rains were heavy at times and the winds were strong, but it didn't have the force of a hurricane," said Lorenzo Garcia-Troncoso, director of Caritas Dominican Republic.
Yesterday officials in Haiti upped the death toll there to 19, reflecting the vulnerability of a country still recovering from the 2010 earthquake. Some 421,000 Haitians still live in tents and tarp-covered shacks.
"For thousands of families, Isaac is still a horrible ordeal. I saw busloads of children without parents still arriving at shelters and heard from a woman who lost her child as they ran, terrified, from their flooded home in the middle of the night," said Stephania Musset, a spokeswoman for Oxfam, a humanitarian group working in the country.
Catholic agencies were collecting information from various dioceses around the country. Damage appeared to be heaviest in the Southeast department.
FULL STORY Catholic agencies in Caribbean assess damage after Isaac passes (CNS)