Hurricane Matthew: Death toll rises to more than 300 in Haiti

The number of reported deaths has more than doubled within a few hours as emergency workers struggle to reach the hardest-hit areas of the island

Rachael Revesz
New York
Friday 07 October 2016 01:32 BST
Helicopter footage shows devastation in Haiti after Hurricane Matthew

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Hundreds of people have died in Hurricane Matthew, the largest storm to hit the Caribbean - and soon the United States - for a decade.

As one of the poorest countries in the world is still dealing with the effects of an earthquake last year and a cholera outbreak, now close to 300 people have been killed by collapsing infrastructure and mudslides amid a category four storm which ravaged the Caribbean this week.

Reports say the latest death toll is 339 in Haiti, according to local officials - up dramatically from the half dozen or so initially reported. One count by the Reuters news agency, which has not been independently verified, claims the total of dead is at least 478.

Thousands of people have been displaced, and shelters and hospitals are stretched to their limits, according to the UN.

Around $400,000 was sent in aid to Haiti and Jamaica from the US.

Emergency workers have struggled to reach the hardest-hit areas of the country and the death toll is expected to rise.

Four people have also died in the Dominican Republic.

The storm moved to the Bahamas on Thursday, battering the capital of Nassau, and is now very close to the coast of Florida.

Winds of around 140 miles per hour and 11 foot waves are expected to hammer the US coastline.

President Barack Obama has declared a state of emergency in Florida and South Carolina and 3.1 million people are under voluntary and mandatory evacuation as of Thursday afternoon.

One man was shot dead by police after he removed a traffic cone while trying to evacuate in South Carolina, resulting in the police officer chasing him and shooting him.

The storm is expected to travel through Florida, Georgia, North and South Carolina before veering into the Atlantic Ocean by Sunday night, possibly looping back around and even making landfall for a second time in Florida.

Governors in all of the mentioned states have declared states of emergency.

“This storm will kill you,” Florida's governor Rick Scott said Thursday morning.

“This is life and death,” he added.

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