The death toll from the Friday school collapse in Haiti climbed to 82 on Saturday, with 107 injured, Haiti President Rene Preval reported cited by Haitian Press Network.
Rescue workers found early Saturday 21 bodies in a classroom, all believed to be students from one class.
It is not known how many students were in the school when it collapsed Friday morning, but reports say that anywhere between 500 and 700 children and teenagers typically crowded into the three-story concrete building of College La Promesse.
Most of the students at the school ranged in age from 10 to 20, officials said, but some are younger. Haitian press reports said kindergarten, primary and secondary students attended the school.
The school is in an extremely poor part of town and the roads are nearly impassable. A United Nations helicopter was unable to land in the area [...]
Ms Pierre-Louis, who has called on the international community to more assistance, said part of the city of Gonaives might have to be moved.
She said the whole country has been devastated by four storms which struck in just over three weeks.
The problem was too great for Haiti to deal with on its own, she added.
“We need major support and it is time for the world to understand that,” she said.
“We’ve suffered too much in this country.”
Strong winds and torrential rains over the past month have battered Haiti’s already fragile infrastructure and left more than 550 people dead.
Ms Pierre-Louis told the BBC that part of the city of Gonaives, which was almost completely destroyed by the hurricanes, may now have to be built elsewhere.
She also admitted that unless victims of the storms receive more help, rising discontent could force her from office.
Annette Benjamin tried to wait out the storm in her modest home. But when the floods came, the walls collapsed around her. Neighbors pulled the 53-year-old to safety, but everything she owned was gone.
For the next four days, Benjamin waded through the stinking river Rue Cristophe had become, trying not to step on the bodies buried in the muck. She was among tens of thousands desperately searching for food and clean water in a city of 160,000 that had less and less of both.
Help finally arrived Friday in the form of a giant container ship delivering the first aid to Gonaives since Tropical Storm Hanna hit. One of Benjamin’s daughters, a policewoman, had arranged for her to catch a ride to the capital on the ship’s way back.
“I almost died. My house is destroyed. I lost everything,” Benjamin said. “I cannot stay in Gonaives anymore, because they say the storms are going to return again.”
Indeed, Hurricane Ike, a dangerous Category 3 storm, was swirling in the Atlantic with 120-mph winds, and forecasters said it would almost certainly bring more rain to the region over the weekend…