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20 Dead in Haiti After Hurricane, 544 From Cholera

FORT LAUDERDALE (CBS4) - The death toll from passing hurricane Tomas has reached 20 in Haiti while cholera continues to claim lives at a rapid pace.

The BBC is reporting that the death toll from the cholera epidemic reached 544 over the weekend, and is expected to rise due to flooding following Hurricane Tomas. The heavy rains that came with the hurricane have resulted in mud slides and flooding in areas hardest hit by cholera, bringing fears of more outbreaks as people are forced to drink contaminated water.

While Haitian officials have yet to confirm cholera in the capital, the BBC is reporting that at least 30 people are being treated for it there.

The Artibonite River, believed to be the source of the outbreak, has overflown its banks, resulting in the evacuation of that area.

But aid organizations and community groups in South Florida are mobilizing the help Haiti.

The storm's western track caused widespread floods and wind damage along the far edge of Haiti's coast;. It was a serious blow, but far better than had been feared in a nation where storms have been known to kill thousands, and more than 1 million quake survivors were living under tarps and tents.

The Haitian American Grassroots Coalition plans to meet Nov. 8 and talk to the Haitian consul general in Miami. Also on Monday, Food For The Poor will be accepting donations of food, drinks, soap and other personal care items.

The U.S. State Department said they have enough blankets, plastic sheeting, hygiene kits and other relief supplies in place throughout Haiti to help as many as 125,000 storm victims. If those supplies aren't enough, there are more warehoused in Miami.

The USS Iwo Jima arrived off Haiti's coast Friday with eight Marine Corps helicopters and two Navy helicopters which have been used to help deliver relief supplies.

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