By Makini Brice, with additional reporting by Joseph Guyler Delva, Sarah Marsh, Gabriel Stargardter, Frank Jack Daniel and Gabriel Stargardter; Editing by Tom Brown and Bill Rigby
3 October 2016
LES CAYES, Haiti (Reuters) – Hurricane Matthew bore down on Haiti on Monday, where towns and villages braced for “catastrophic” floods and mudslides that forecasters fear will be triggered by 140 mile-per-hour (220 kph) winds and up to 3 feet of rain over its denuded hills.
Winds and rain began picking up in the southwest of the Caribbean country, but the center of Matthew, a violent Category 4 storm, is not due until late on Monday night, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.
It is now forecast to reach the Bahamas on Tuesday and possibly reach Florida by Thursday as a major hurricane, though weaker than at present, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said. Before that, it will hit Cuba.
“It has the potential of being catastrophic,” said Dennis Feltgen, a meteorologist and spokesman for the Miami-based hurricane center, when asked about Matthew’s expected impact on Haiti. […]
About 150 people huddled without electricity or food in Les Cayes' largest shelter, a school meant to house 600.
“After the hurricane, we will be miserable. We'll be hungry… The houses will be destroyed,” said Rosette Joseph, 44, at the shelter with her four children. [more]
By Pam Wright and Sean Breslin
3 October 2016
(The Weather Channel) – As authorities and residents in Haiti, Jamaica and Cuba braced for Hurricane Matthew's arrival, the storm's death toll rose again.
Marie Alta Jean-Baptiste, director of the Haiti's Civil Protection Agency, told the Associated Press Monday that two fishermen were killed in rough water churned up by the approaching Hurricane Matthew, but later clarified that was wrong. Only one man has been confirmed dead, while the other is believed to still be missing off the southern Haiti town of Aquin, the AP also said.
The fatality occurred when the man's boat capsized early Monday off the tiny fishing town of Saint-Jean du Sud, the report added.
The death brings the total toll from Hurricane Matthew to three. The massive storm was already responsible for two deaths last week – one in Colombia and another in St. Vincent.
The government had banned boating along the Haiti's coastlines starting Saturday. According to the head of an 80-member fishermen's association in the south coast town of Gressier, Johnny Souffrant, some fishermen were taking to the seas early Monday despite the ban.
“They feel they have to take risks to support their families,” Souffrant said. More than 70 percent of the Haitian people are living in poverty. Some 60 percent live on just $1 per day, according to the Borgen Project, a poverty awareness program. […]
Jean-Baptiste said Monday that 500 people were evacuated to Jérémie. She noted that residents were “resistant” to being evacuated, according to the Haiti Libre.
The Haiti Gazette reports another 89 people were evacuated from rising storm surge Sunday from the Abreu islet near Ile-à-Vaches.
Deforestation has greatly increased the potential for devastating floods and landslides in Haiti. Couple that with the state of the country's dilapidated homes and buildings and the possibility of heavy casualties from the storm seems likely, reports the AP.
Haiti Libre reports that more than 55,000 people are living in tents and makeshift shelters on the island and are in danger from the storm.
“Some of us will die, but I pray it won't be a lot,” said Serge Barionette in the southern town of Gressier, where a river recurrently bursts its banks during serious storms, according to the AP. [more]