The number of dead left behind in Haiti by tropical storm Jeanne climbed to more than 1,000, and that number could double according to a spokesman for the country's civil protection agency.

The bodies of 1,013 people have been found in the city of Gonaives alone. Bloated bodies, many unclaimed, have been piled up outside the city's three morgues. Fifty-eight bodies have been found in other areas.

Another 1,250 people have been reported missing are are feared dead.

The Red Cross said it would photograph the bodies so they can bury them before they are identified.

Haiti's third-largest city, Gonaives is home to about 250,000 people. Every house in the city was damaged when Jeanne slammed into the impoverished country, bringing deluges of rain and mudslides.

Those not rendered completely homeless set up temporary shelters on top of their houses using sheets.

Others walked through the flooded streets carrying their belongings on their heads.

In some parts of the city, water lines reached up to three metres high. The flood waters, which are slowly receding, still contain the floating, decomposing bodies of goats and pigs.

Dieufort Deslorges, spokesperson for Haiti's civil protection agency, said the death toll would rise as reports come in from outlying villages and rescuers dig through mudslides and rubble.

Across the country, about 250,000 people are homeless, Deslorges said.

Food and water carried on United Nations peacekeeping helicopters are beginning to reach Gonaives. The road into the area is impassable.

A police officer in Gonaives said people, some of whom haven't eaten since the storm hit on the weekend, have been mobbing aid vehicles.