At least eight dead, 26 missing in Haiti, Dominican Republic after passage of Tropical Storm Alpha

Tropical Storm Alpha killed at least eight people in Haiti before the system moved north into the Atlantic Ocean and weakened into a tropical depression, authorities said Monday.

The Atlantic season's record-breaking 22nd named storm also left 23 missing in Haiti and at least three in the neighborhing Dominican Republic as mudslides and overflowing rivers flooded streets and destroyed homes, according to officials in both countries.

Alpha passed over the two nations that share the Caribbean island of Hispaniola and dumped heavy rains on ground already saturated from other recent storms, including Hurricane Wilma _ which had killed 12 people in Haiti before the storm moved on to Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula.

Emergency authorities in Haiti were still assessing the damage from Alpha and the death toll could rise, Maria Alta Jean Baptiste, the head of the country's civil protection agency, told reporters.

The deaths from Alpha included three people who drowned in flooding in the village of Anse Rouge in northern Haiti and a fourth in the northeastern town of Hinche, Jean Baptiste said.

In the south, two people were swept away to their deaths after a river broke its banks in rural Grande Anse, Jean Baptiste said. Two people died after being electrocuted during flooding, one in the Port-au-Prince suburb of Carrefour and the other in the southern town of Jacmel.

Floods and mudslides damaged or destroyed at least 400 homes around the country, leaving hundreds of residents stranded in shelters, said Abel Nazaire of Haiti's Risk and Disaster Management agency.

Twenty-four people have been reported missing since the storm in Haiti, including 19 who were swept away by floodwaters in the town of Leogane, just west of the capital.

"We are conducting searches right now, and we're extremely worried," Leogane Mayor Taylor Rigaud said in a telephone interview. He said dozens of families were in shelters after their homes were inundated.

In the Dominican Republic, authorities searched Monday for two fishermen who went missing at sea during the storm, said Jose Luis German, spokesman for the country's emergency operations committee.

Officials were also searching for a 14-year-old boy who was swept away by floodwaters in the northern town of Guaricanos, German said.

Haiti's weather service predicted more rain for Monday, threatening to cause more flooding.

The Atlantic storm season officially ends Nov. 30, AP reported. V.A.

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