A wall of water and mud buried much of Gonaives, Haiti, in the wake of Tropical Storm Jeanne, which struck the island of Hispaniola on September 18, 2004. Four days later, the Ikonos satellite captured this high-resolution view of the water-logged city. Brown mud or water still covers a large part of the city. Roads that were visible on September 17 have disappeared, as have a number of buildings. The densely populated city of about 200,000 was the most severely impacted region of Haiti. As of September 24, the death toll stood at 1,260, with at least a thousand more still missing, according to news reports.
Haiti is particularly susceptible to flooding because of large-scale deforestation on the Haitian half of the island, where most trees have been cut down to make charcoal for cooking. Without trees to slow or stop rainfall, the water runs over the sun-baked ground, filling low spots. In late May, thousands died after heavy rainfall triggered widespread floods in southern Haiti. Located on the northeast coast of Haiti, Gonaives was not affected by the earlier floods.
The large images provided above reveal how much of the city was affected by the floods. They show a wider view of the city at one meter per pixel. Brown flood water covers nearly the entire scene.