Throughout Haiti, people were digging through the wreckage of their homes and businesses Friday, salvaging what they could from devastating aftermath of Hurricane Matthew earlier in the week.
CCTV America’s Stephen Gibbs reports.
Haiti confronts escalating death toll in wake of Hurricane MatthewThroughout Haiti, people were digging through the wreckage of their homes and businesses Friday, salvaging what they could from devastating aftermath of Hurricane Matthew earlier in the week. CCTV America's Jim Spellman reports.
The official death toll stood at nearly 300 Friday morning, but authorities on the ground anticipate the final count will be significantly higher.
Saint-Victor Jeune, an official with the Civil Protection agency working in Beaumont, told The Associated Press his team had found 82 bodies that had not been recorded by authorities in the capital because of spotty communications.
Among the dead, most are reported to have died from falling and flying debris from the winds that tore through the area in excess of 145 mph.
As Haitians mourned their losses, they tried to recover what they could of their meager possessions. Homes throughout the area were piles of rubble, the roofs mangled to stripped away, the fruit gone from the trees.
Government and international aid workers fear that Grand-Anse, on the northern tip of the peninsula, will eventually be the highest contributor to the devastating death toll. The 283 deaths reported by Friday morning did not yet include Grand-Anse or its surrounding areas.
When Category 4 Hurricane Flora hit Haiti in 1963, it killed as many as 8,000 people.
On the coastline, bodies began to appear Thursday as high waters receded.
Officials said that food and water are urgently needed, noting that crops had been leveled, wells inundated by seawater and some water treatment facilities destroyed.
In Les Cayes, many people searched for clean water as they lugged mattresses and other belongings they were able to salvage.
“Nothing is going well,” said Jardine Laguerre, a teacher. “The water took what little money we had. We are hungry.”
Another cause for concern is a possible surge in Cholera cases because of widespread flooding. Haiti’s cholera outbreak has killed roughly 10,000 people and sickened more than 800,000 since 2010, when it was introduced into the country’s biggest river from a U.N. base where Nepalese peacekeepers were deployed.
Haiti’s government has estimated at least 350,000 people need some kind of assistance in what is likely to be the country’s worst humanitarian crisis since the devastating earthquake of January 2010.
Before Hurricane Matthew even made landfall, the U.S. Agency for International Development on Monday pledged $400,000 in aid to Haiti and Jamaica. In the coming days, the U.S. military expects to help deliver food and water to hard-hit areas via helicopter.
Story compiled with information from The Associated Press, USAID, and Reuters.
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