Hurricane Matthew Hits Haiti- Death Toll Hits 100
The death toll from Hurricane Matthew's furious blast across beleaguered Haiti rose to more than 100 people on Thursday, while the Atlantic basin's most powerful storm in almost a decade continued its unrelenting march toward the U.S. East Coast.
Haitian Interior Minister Francois Anick Joseph said at least 108 people were killed after the storm struck Tuesday with 145-mph winds, torrential rain and driving storm surge. Joseph called the death toll "very provisional," saying authorities had yet to complete a nationwide damage assessment.
Matthew, which has prompted evacuation orders for more than 2 million people from Florida to South Carolina. is the most powerful single hurricane on record to make landfall in Haiti, Cuba and the Bahamas. Other countries in the region also felt the storm's fury.
Matthew was smashing through the Bahamas on Thursday, and little information on damage was immediately available. At least four died in the Dominican Republic, Haiti's neighbor on the island of Hispaniola. Deaths also were reported in Colombia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
"We continue to collect information," said Haitian civil protection director Alta Jean-Baptiste. "We can tell you that there are communities ... where there is a lot of material damage and also loss of life."
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Peter Mulrean, the U.S. ambassador to Haiti, joined Jean-Baptiste and Haitian President Jocelerme Privert in surveying the damage from the air Thursday. The U.S. Agency for International Development pledged an additional $1 million in humanitarian assistance for Haitian communities, bringing the USAID total to $1.5 million.
The storm was a brutal blow to the impoverished nation of 10 million people still recovering from a 2010 earthquake that killed 200,000. More than 55,000 people were still living in tents and makeshift homes before Matthew roared through.
United Nations emergency response teams were on the ground in Haiti to coordinate rapid assessments and support disaster aid distribution. The nonprofit aid agency Mercy Corps said its teams in Haiti were confronting heavy damage to infrastructure and agriculture.
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