GONAIVES, Haiti _ Her third day without food or water, Fleurie Benita waded through the calf-high mud, balancing her life's possessions on her head, uncertain of what to do next, or what will come next.
With every step, the mother of four recalled the blinding sheets of rain and the sound of death knocking at her front door. Then her desperate decision.
''I grabbed the children and ran. We ran to a neighbor's house,'' said Benita, 24, who like so many here credit the last-minute decision to brave Tropical Storm Hanna's pounding downpour for saving her life. ``The water didn't even leave me a bed to sleep in. Even the pots and pans were washed away.''
After three days of relentless rains from Hanna, the sun finally pierced the clouds Thursday in this low-lying city. And residents began to survey the damage.
Hanna has become the deadliest storm of the 2008 hurricane season. It killed 137 people in Haiti, including 102 from the Artibonite region, where Gonaives is located, said Abel Nazaire of Haiti's civil protection bureau.
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