The death toll in Haiti has soared to over 478 in the wake of Hurricane Matthew, which is now considered the most powerful Caribbean storm in a decade, the Mirror reports.
Two days after Hurricane Matthew slammed into Haiti, the extent of the storm’s devastation in the country’s small towns and coastal villages has finally been revealed.
As reported by BBC, around 50 people were killed in the town of Roche-a-Bateau alone, while the city of Jeremie saw 80 percent of its buildings decimated after the storm. In the Sud province, around 30,000 homes have been destroyed.
The bodies of those who lost their lives in the hurricane appeared after the waters have receded in some places. Hurricane Matthew is now a Category Three storm with sustained winds of 120 mph. As of this writing, the storm is sweeping through Florida.
While the number of casualties continues to rise, different agencies have been providing contrasting casualty numbers. Officials said early Thursday that the death toll has risen to 283, while the Reuters news agency later tallied 339 people dead in the wake of the storm as reported by civil protection officials.
Most deaths occurred in towns and fishing villages near the western tip of Tiburon peninsula. Most of the victims were killed by falling trees, flying debris, and floods.
“I’ve never seen anything like this,” Louis Paul Raphael, a central government representative in Roche-a-Bateau, told Reuters.
Residents of the Sous-Roche district of Les Cayes shared their experiences in helping out their neighbors amid the devastation left by Hurricane Matthew.
“I’ve been on my feet for two days without sleep. We need to help each other,” Dominique Osny told AFP news agency while surrounded by the debris and destruction left by the storm.
“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, mentioning an important document in Haiti.
“I thought I was going to die. I looked death in the face,” said Yolette Cazenor, 36, while standing near his house, which was destroyed by a fallen coconut palm.
On top of human casualties, the storm has killed livestock and destroyed crops in many parts of the struggling nation.
“We have nothing left to survive on. All the crops have gone, all fruit trees are down. I don’t have a clue how this is going to be fixed,” Marc Soniel Noel, deputy mayor of Chantal, told Reuters.
Over three million people have evacuated from areas in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina before Hurricane Matthew hits the United States.
Thousands of National Guard troops were deployed to Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina after President Obama declared a state of emergency in said areas.
As previously reported by Mirror, the monster storm slammed into the Sunshine State with 100 mph winds as recorded in Cape Canaveral at 10:30 pm BST.
The hurricane has already swept through Miami but is expected to affect around 26 million people as it continues on its path towards the East Coast.
One casualty in the US has been reported so far: a 58-year-old woman who suffered a cardiac arrest overnight in St. Lucis.
According to WPTV, someone made an emergency call at 1:20 am EDT, but emergency services hadn’t been provided due to the extreme conditions brought about by the deadly storm.
Florida Governor Rick Scott issued a statement at 12:15 pm BST to provide his constituents updated information on the state vis-à-vis the hurricane.
The eye of the hurricane was “a little bit off our coast which is a blessing,” according to the Florida governor.
“We’re going to see up to 12ft [storm surges] in the Jacksonville area.
“We still have a long way to go. We have this all day today,” he added.
[Featured Image by Dieu Nalio Chery/AP Photos]