Deadly storm takes aim at US southeast where 2 million residents urged to evacuate.
Senabri Silvestre - SANTO DOMINGO, Dom. Rep. (AA) – At least 842 people have been killed in Haiti as the death toll continues to rise after Hurricane Matthew cut a path through parts of the country, according to reports Thursday.
The interior ministry warned that the number could still increase as waters recede and rescue workers reach the most devastated areas in the southwest.
“The figures could increase because there are about seven departments severely damaged,” civil defense chief Alta Jean Baptiste told Anadolu Agency.
Approximately 4 million residents live in the south and southwest region of the Caribbean nation where homes are typically built with inadequate materials.
Civil defense rescuers and others organization are still evaluating the area struck by heavy rains and wind that destroyed homes and caused flooding. One southern province has been cut off from the rest of the country after its main bridge was destroyed by flood waters.
“We will give more information as soon as we get it”, Baptiste told Anadolu Agency.
The eye of the Category 4 storm made landfall in Haiti on Monday night with maximum winds of 220 kilometers per hour (140 miles per hour), according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC).
Before it struck the poorest country in the western hemisphere, Matthew left four people dead and more than 25,000 displaced in neighboring Dominican Republic.
Forty-four communities are still without access from flooding or other damages and 2,398 houses were affected, the Emergency Operation Center (COE) said Tuesday.
“We are working on clearing roads, pruning trees, debris removal and other rehabilitation work to enable the blocked access,” the agency said in statement.
More than 1.3 million residents have been displaced by the heavy rains and flooding caused by Matthew that slammed into the eastern tip of Cuba and leveled homes. Aggressive evacuation and preparation have been credited for no reports of deaths on the island.
Matthew is currently just south of Freeport, Bahamas, where 70 percent of the island’s 250,000 residents live. It is expected to cause heavy damage to the island chain from rain and floods.
It will then take aim at the southeastern U.S. where a state of emergency has been declared in Florida.
Approximately 2 million residents in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina have been warned to evacuate as Matthew could make landfall sometime late Thursday or early Friday.
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