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Haiti: Hurricane Matthew leaves hundreds dead

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01:03 - Source: CNN
Haiti devastated by Hurricane Matthew

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At least 300 dead after Hurricane Matthew hit Haiti

Evacuation centers overwhelmed as worst-affected areas cut off

CNN —  

Haiti had only just begun rebuilding from a devastating earthquake six years ago when Hurricane Matthew tore through the small Caribbean nation on Tuesday, killing hundreds in its path and inundating entire villages.

Once again much of the country is a disaster zone, with powerful Matthew shredding homes and engulfing communities in knee-deep water that is taking time to recede.

At least 300 people have died since Matthew made landfall in Haiti on Tuesday as a Category 4 hurricane, according to Paul Altidor, Haitian ambassador to the United States.

“We expect unfortunately that number to rise a little bit as we begin to access communities, regions that were inaccessible because of the roads, because of the bridges that fell due to the hurricane,” Altidor told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.

Communication is still an issue in Southern Haiti, where winds of 125 mph (200 kph) destroyed homes, flooded villages and cut off the island from the rest of the country.

“The southern peninsula has been devastated,” said US Navy Rear Adm. Cedric Pringle, commander of the Joint Task Force Matthew, after conducting an aerial tour of the destruction.

About 350 military personnel will be on the ground in Haiti by Saturday, Pringle said Friday in a briefing from Port-au-Prince. He’s in the Haitian capital to kick start humanitarian and disaster relief assistance to the country.

Ships from the Netherlands, France and possibly from the United Kingdom will also help, he said.

As the hurricane brushed the Florida coast Friday, US President Barack Obama urged Americans to donate to the American Red Cross and other philanthropic organizations to help Haiti and other affected countries.

“We know that hundreds of people … lost their lives and that they’re going to need help rebuilding,” he said at the White House.

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