The death toll in Haiti continues to rise as rescue teams attempt to reach the hardest-hit communities. Officials report that 877 people have been confirmed dead after Hurricane Matthew swept through the tropical nation. Sadly, the death toll is expected to continue to rise as crews make it to areas currently inaccessible via normal roads. In fact, aide workers say that parts of Haiti’s southern region were “completely destroyed.”
The BBC reports that the death toll has climbed to a staggering 877 in Haiti following Hurricane Matthew.
“Nearly 900 people are known to have been killed by Hurricane Matthew in Haiti, with aid officials saying up to 90% of some areas have been destroyed.”
The death toll is expected to go up as rescue crews make their way to the areas most heavily hit by the devastating hurricane. The southern coast was almost completely decimated in areas with residents telling the New York Times reporters that they see “nothing to live for.”
The harrowing tales of survivors and those killed swept the area with the stories detailing the horror as storm surge and high winds overtook the small communities, sweeping away everything in its path. Destine Rosevald recounted the death of his two young children, ages 6 and 4. The father says he tried to get his children to safety, but both would perish after the home they were in collapsed. Rosevald’s 4-year-old son would die during the collapse but the doting father would carry his body, not knowing yet he was deceased, to a neighbor’s house. He hoisted his 6-year-old daughter on his shoulders as they fled the home but she would be struck in the side by a piece of debris as they fled and later die from internal wounds.
“When I think about them, I cry. She was just in elementary school. My son, he was going to start kindergarten this year.”
Other stories similar to Rosevald’s were equally as heartbreaking and terrifying. From families watching as their loved ones were swept out to sea, to parents killed attempting to save their children from the monstrous storms, the local communities were mourning the loss of hundreds as they attempted to salvage anything remaining from their former lives.
Reports indicate that there are still 500,000 people stranded in various locations across Haiti, with rescue crews unable to reach them due to the widespread devastation. In other areas, a new concern is rising as the waters recede. Fox News notes that aid convoys are arriving in Haiti to help curb the spread of cholera as the disease surges following the storm.
Cholera was reportedly already rampant in Haiti with roughly 10,000 people dying from the disease since 2010. Additionally, some 800,000 have been sickened by cholera in the region during that same time frame. With the massive flooding throughout Haiti following Hurricane Matthew, authorities fear that the cholera epidemic will only get worse.
For patients already suffering from cholera, the main cholera treatment facility in Jeremie says they are ill-equipped to sufficiently treat the patients they have, noting that they are now in an open air facility where children who are supposed to be in darkened rooms are now exposed to the sunlight.
“They’re not supposed to be in the sun, but we have no more beds.”
In addition to cholera fears, the World Food Program says that food shortages will be a problem as many crops and farms were destroyed in the storm. Residents needing aid note that food was brought for struggling families but that it simply isn’t enough as there is no clean water or charcoal to cook the food provided.
“Yes, they brought food, but it’s not sufficient. There’s no water. There’s no charcoal.”
As the cleanup and rescue efforts continue, the death toll is only expected to rise as UNICEF says people in the field are reporting even higher numbers than government agencies.
“Information gathered from various sources in the field suggests that the human toll (dead and injured) will be heavier than the current official figures.”
For those wanting to help Haiti following the devastation from Hurricane Matthew, here are some organizations that are aiding in humanitarian efforts in the region.
— Oxfam International (@Oxfam) October 7, 2016
— Christian Aid (@christian_aid) October 6, 2016
— Samaritan’s Purse (@SamaritansPurse) October 9, 2016
— Asli Pelit (@brefootcontessa) October 7, 2016
[Featured Image by Rebecca Blackwell/AP Images]