Emergency aid slowly began to reach some of the thousands of Haitians displaced by Hurricane Matthew in the country’s picturesque southwest as reports of casualties slowly trickled in from communities cut off by the storm.
The number of deaths reached 842 on 7th October, two days after the storm’s 145-mile-an-hour winds and torrential rains slammed into the country, according to a tally by Reuters based on conversations with local officials.
However, Haiti’s Civil Protection Agency reported that 271 people had died. The agency’s accounting of casualties is lower because of a policy to count only the bodies that emergency workers can actually see.
Reports of damage and casualties in Cuba and other nations affected by the storm were sporadic. Cuba’s easternmost region experienced widespread damage. There were no details on casualties available.
Emergency supplies that had been stored in warehouses before the storm were being distributed to people whose homes were turned into matchsticks by Matthew, said Chris Bessey, Haiti country director for Catholic Relief Services.
CRS staff flew into Les Cayes, a city of 71,000 on the southwest coast. Bessey said thousands of people remained in shelters in the city.
Picture: Residents stand outside their homes on 5th October in Cite Soleil, a slum in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, after Hurricane Matthew swept through the island nation. Rescue workers in Haiti are struggling to reach parts of the country cut off by Hurricane Matthew, the most powerful Caribbean storm in nearly a decade. (CNS photo/courtesy Malteser International).