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300 dead, thousands homeless on islands

RESCUE WORKERS in the Dominican Republic pulled more bodies from the mud, water, and rubble left behind yesterday by Hurricane Georges. At least 307 people died in the storm that ravaged the Caribbean.

American and French aid arrived yesterday in the Dominican Republic, including search and rescue teams. They were trying to reach the hard- hit Juan de la Maguana area, 120 miles west of the capital, Santo Domingo, where 76 bodies were recovered on Thursday.

About 100,000 people were left homeless in the Dominican Republic alone, while the authorities said 70 per cent of bridges were damaged and 90 per cent of banana and other plantations destroyed.

The death toll was lower elsewhere in the Caribbean, though most islands suffered massive damage to their infrastructure. In Haiti, 27 deaths were reported and dozens of homes were destroyed. In Cuba, two deaths were reported and 200,000 people had to be evacuated. On Puerto Rico at least three people were killed and 28,000 people were evacuated. The authorities estimated the bill for damages at $2bn.

Three were killed on St Kitts and Nevis, and two in Antigua.

On the US mainland, in Florida, thousands of British holidaymakers were bracing themselves for the expected onslaught. However, UK holiday companies are still chartering passengers to Miami, although tour operators are warning holidaymakers to stay away from the brunt of the storm, in the south of the state.