Hurricane Sandy's Death Toll Reaches 69 in Caribbean Countries

As Sandy heads towards the East Coast, it has already taken dozens of lives.

ByABC News
October 29, 2012, 10:19 AM

Oct. 29, 2012 — -- As Hurricane Sandy barrels towards the East Coast on Monday afternoon, the storm has left death and destruction in its wake, killing at least 69 people thus far. Caribbean countries, including Cuba and Haiti, felt the worst of it last week and over the weekend.

On Wednesday, the hurricane moved across Jamaica as a Category 1 storm, leaving downed power lines and trees across the island nation. One man was killed by a boulder that crushed his house due to strong winds, the Associated Press reports.

On Thursday, Sandy touched down in Cuba, killing 11 people in Santiago and Guantanamo provinces and increasing to a Category 2 hurricane. Authorities called it the island's deadliest storm since Hurricane Dennis in 2005, which killed 16 and caused $2.4 billion in damage, the Associated Press reported. More than 3,000 buildings were damaged by Sandy's wind and rain, according to Cuban state media reports.

Most of Santiago, Cuba lost electricity, and very few had access to telephones, CNN reported. Flooding may also pose serious health risk in region. Over the summer, flooded wells lead to a cholera outbreak in the Granma province of the country.

The storm hit also hit the Bahamas, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic. In the Bahamas, two were killed, including a British investment banker who died while he fell from his roof as he tried to repair a window shutter.

In Puerto Rico, one man in his fifties was swept away in a river flooded by Sandy's rain and ore than 100 families were also forced to evacuate. And in the Dominican Republic, rains and wind, damaged nearly 3,500 homes, the AP reported. More than 18,000 people were evacuated by the government.

In the Dominican Republic, two young men drowned while trying to cross rivers in seperate incidents, according to the AP.

The worst of Sandy's damage thus far has been seen in Haiti, where 52 are reported dead from heavy flooding and strong winds, which lasted from Wednesday through Friday. Most of the deaths occurred in southern Haiti and in Port-au-Prince, both areas where many Haitians live in flimsy shelters, as a result of the 2010 earthquake, the AP reports.

Fields of banana crops were destroyed, many Haitians remain without homes, and the death still could still rise, Haitian authorities tell the AP.

"This is a disaster of major proportions," Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe said. "The whole south is under water."