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Haitian flooding kills 23, at least 6 missing

By the CNN Wire Staff
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Cholera cases spike in Haiti
  • U.N. report: Floodwaters swept through homes, tent cities and medical facilities
  • Dozens of camps are flooded, hundreds of families are affected, the U.N. report says
  • Heavy rains have created a fertile breeding ground for cholera-causing bacteria
  • Haiti
  • Cholera
  • Natural Disasters

(CNN) -- The death toll from flooding and landslides after torrential rains hit Haiti earlier this week climbed to 23 Wednesday, the country's civil protection department said.

Floodwaters from the rains swept through homes, tent cities and medical facilities, a report from the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said.

Dozens of camps were flooded, hundreds of families were affected and at least six people were reported missing after the rains, which began Monday evening and stretched into Tuesday morning, the report said.

The rainfall has forced residents to evacuate from homes and tent cities, and created a fertile breeding ground for the bacteria that causes cholera.

The Pan American Health Organization warned the situation in Port-au-Prince continues to deteriorate and most cholera treatment centers are working at "full throttle."

Aid agencies are scrambling to respond to a resurgence of cholera triggered by the heavy rain.

Cholera is caused by drinking tainted water. Its symptoms can range from mild or even nonexistent to profuse diarrhea and vomiting. It's not difficult to deal with the disease but if left untreated, death from dehydration can come within a matter of hours.

"The situation continues to deteriorate," Beat Rohr, director of CARE in Haiti, said Tuesday. "We never stopped sensitizing the population about the importance of clean water and the need to wash their hands regularly. But it won't be enough."

Journalist Ross Velton contributed to this report.