Cuba was severely affected by strong winds carried by Hurricane Matthew on Tuesday night.
The severe weather downed trees and flooded streets in Haiti. Substantial damage was experienced in southern Haiti, which witnessed winds as strong as 140 miles per hour. At least seven people have been killed – including four in the Dominican Republican, Haiti’s neighbor – in what has been described as an “extremely dangerous” storm.
Hurricane Matthew: ‘Extremely dangerous’ storm is the worst for Caribbean in nearly a decade.
As reported by the Herald Sun, Hurricane Matthew is the worst storm to have affected the Caribbean islands in almost a decade.
The hurricane had killed at least three people in Haiti even before it made landfall along the southern edge of a peninsula on Hispaniola. The National Hurricane Center said the hurricane, Category 4, made landfall near Les Anglais, Haiti, around 7 a.m. ET. There are fears the extreme weather may have resulted in more deaths.
As much as 40 inches of rain could fall in Haiti.
“We’ve already seen deaths. People who were out at sea,” Interim Haitian President Jocelerme Privert said. “There are people who are missing. They are people who didn’t respect the alerts. They’ve lost their lives.”
With the possibility of the storm striking the east coast later this week, South Carolina has said it would begin evacuating 1.1 million coastal residents on Wednesday and try to move them at least 160 kilometers inland. In Georgia, 13 counties were issued a state of emergency.
More than 300,000 people have been evacuated in Cuba from the east of the island.
As reported by CNN, the bridge linking Port-au-Prince and southern Haiti was destroyed in the storm. Communication towers experienced damaged caused by downed trees – something that emergency officials fear could disrupt emergency response.
Hurricane Matthew: Fragile Housing Conditions and Threat of Diseases
As many as 11 million people live in fragile housing conditions in Haiti. Following the disastrous earthquake of 2010, thousands still live in tents. Mountainous terrains and lack of trees and bushes can cause erosion.
While massive physical damage has been witnessed in the storm, there are potential health risks as well. “As it struggles with Zika and a prolonged cholera epidemic, this hurricane is a natural disaster that compounds an already desperate public health situation,” Gary Gottlieb, the CEO of the group Partners in Health, said.
UNICEF emphasized the dangers of water borne diseases, saying they are “the first threat to children in similar situations.”
“Our first priority is to make sure children have enough safe water,” the agency said.