Thursday, October 06, 2016

Hurricane Matthew's deadly passage so far

Rescue workers in Haiti are struggling to reach parts of the country cut off by the most powerful Caribbean hurricane in nearly a decade.
The destruction wrought by Hurricane Matthew has forced Haiti's presidential election this weekend to be postponed, officials say. Thousands have been displaced and at least 16 people have died . No doubt others have died or are missing at this point and have not been reported.

The US states of Florida and South Carolina are bracing for the storm, which is nearing the Bahamas.  All air and sea traffic has been halted on the islands and people have been urged to move to higher ground.

Matthew battered a remote area of Haiti - one of the world's poorest countries, with many residents living in flimsy housing in flood-prone areas - with winds of up to 230km/h (145mph) on Tuesday.
Officials said they were not yet in a position to gauge the true extent of the damage - particularly in the Grand Anse area on the southern tip of the island, which was directly in the storm's path. A key bridge has been destroyed, roads are impassable and phone communications are down, officials said.

 The real destructive force of Hurricane Matthew was towards the south-west of the country.  Trees fallen, banana crops uprooted and flattened, houses under water and men and women trying to get the debris out of the way.
People coped completely on their own. There were no army, rescue teams or police around to help. Even the aid agencies are struggling to move around this damaged corner of the country.

Floods in Haiti

A man carries a woman across a river at Petit Goave where a bridge collapsed during the rains of Hurricane Matthew, south-west of Port-au-Prince, 5 October
Parts of southern Haiti have suffered severe flooding 

Men push a motorbike through a street flooded

Mourad Wahba, the UN special representative for Haiti, said at least 10,000 people were in shelters and hospitals were overflowing.

"What we know is that many, many houses have been damaged," Interior Minister Francois Anick Joseph said. "Some lost rooftops and they'll have to be replaced, while others were totally destroyed."

Among the damaged buildings were schools and churches due to be used as polling stations in Haiti's election. A new date for the much-delayed vote has not yet been announced.

Flight from Florida

At least 16 people are believed to have been killed by Hurricane Matthew so far, including four killed by collapsing walls and mudslides in the Dominican Republic.
In Cuba, dozens of homes in the eastern city of Baracoa were destroyed., President Obama warned that the coming days would be dangerous and urged Americans to heed official advice.

Florida Prepares For Possible Hit By Hurricane Matthew

Residents in Florida are preparing for the storm's predicted arrival Florida Governor Rick Scott said his state could be facing its biggest evacuation ever.
South Carolina's Governor Nikki Haley said 250,000 people would be evacuated from coastal areas.
Matthew is the region's most powerful hurricane since Felix in 2007.

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