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Sandy leaves Bahamas after killing 43 in Caribbean

Associated Press Modified: October 26, 2012 at 10:45 pm •  Published: October 26, 2012
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NASSAU, Bahamas (AP) — Hurricane Sandy spun away from the Bahamas late Friday after causing 43 deaths across the Caribbean, churning northward toward the U.S. East Coast, where it threatens to join with winter weather fronts to create a super storm.

The Category 1 hurricane toppled light posts, flooded roads and tore off tree branches as it spun through Cat Island and Eleuthera in the scattered Bahamas archipelago, with authorities reporting one man killed, the British CEO of an investment bank.

The death toll rose again in impoverished Haiti, reaching 29 late Friday as word of disasters reached officials and rain continued to fall.

Joseph Edgard Celestin, a spokesman for Haiti's civil protection office, said some people died trying to cross rivers swollen by rains from Sandy's outer reaches. While the storm's center missed the country as it passed by Wednesday, Haiti's ramshackle housing and denuded hillsides make it especially vulnerable to flooding.

Officials at a morgue in the western town of Grand Goave said a mudslide crashed through a wooden home Thursday, killing 40-year-old Jacqueline Tatille and her four children, ranging in ages from 5 to 17.

"If the rain continues, for sure we'll have more people die," said deputy Joseph Franck Laporte. "The earth cannot hold the rain."

Officials reported flooding across Haiti, where 370,000 people are still living in flimsy shelters as a result of the devastating 2010 earthquake. Nearly 17,800 people had to move to 131 temporary shelters, the Civil Protection Office said.

Sandy was a Category 2 hurricane when it wreaked havoc in Cuba on Thursday, killing 11 people in eastern Santiago and Guantanamo provinces as its howling winds and rain destroyed thousands of houses and ripped off roofs. Authorities said it was Cuba's deadliest storm since July 2005, when category 5 Hurricane Dennis killed 16 people and caused $2.4 billion in damage.

Cuban authorities said the island's 11 dead included a 4-month-old boy who was crushed when his home collapsed and an 84-year-old man in Santiago province. Near the city of Guantanamo, two men were killed by falling trees, the Communist Party newspaper Granma reported.

Official news media reported Friday that the storm caused 5,000 houses to at least partially collapse while ripping the roofs off 30,000 others. Banana, coffee, bean and sugar crops were damaged.

Sandy also killed a man in Jamaica on Wednesday when a boulder crashed through his house, and police in the Bahamas said a 66-year-old man died after falling from his roof in upscale Lyford Cay late Thursday while trying to repair a window shutter. Officials at Deltec Bank & Trust identified him as Timothy Fraser-Smith, who became CEO in 2000.

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