Haiti Storm Causes Agony as Death Toll Soars

Destroyed houses in Jeremie hit by Hurricane Matthew 
The number of people killed in Haiti by Hurricane Matthew has risen sharply into the hundreds, as coastal villages and towns began making contact with the outside world two days after being hit by the fiercest Caribbean storm in nearly a decade. 

Bodies started to appear late on Thursday as waters receded in some places after Matthew's 235 kilometres-per-hour winds smashed concrete walls, flattened palm trees and tore roofs off homes, forcing thousands of Haitians to flee.

With the numbers increasing quickly, different government agencies and committees gave contrasting death tolls. Earlier on Thursday, officials had said the number of dead stood at 283, but a later Reuters news agency tally of deaths reported by civil protection officials showed the storm killed at least 339 people.

Most of the fatalities were in towns and fishing villages around the western end of Tiburon peninsula in Haiti's southwest, with many victims killed by falling trees, flying debris and swollen rivers.

Destroyed houses
At least 50 people were reported to have died in coastal Roche-a-Bateau, which local officials described as "devastated".

"I've never seen anything like this," Louis Paul Raphael, a central government representative in Roche-a-Bateau, told Reuters.

Inland in Chantal, the toll rose to 90 late on Thursday evening, the town's mayor said.

"Everyone is a victim here, houses have been washed away, we lost all the roofing. I lost everything, right up to my birth certificate," he said, citing a vital document hard to replace in Haiti.

"I thought I was going to die. I looked death in the face," said 36-year-old Yolette Cazenor, standing in front of a house smashed in two by a fallen coconut palm.

Along with the human devastation, the storm killed livestock and destroyed crops in parts of the impoverished nation.

The devastation in Haiti prompted authorities to postpone a presidential election scheduled for Sunday.

Residents head to a shelter in Leogane, Haiti
Poverty, weak government and precarious living conditions for many of its citizens make Haiti particularly vulnerable to natural disasters.

In 2010, a magnitude 7 earthquake wrecked the capital, Port-au-Prince, killing more than 200,000 people.

For more on this report, click here to read more on Aljazeera
Haiti Storm Causes Agony as Death Toll Soars Haiti Storm Causes Agony as Death Toll Soars Reviewed by E.A Olatoye on October 07, 2016 Rating: 5

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