PORT-AU-PRINCE – The Haitian government on Saturday was continuing to evaluate the severe damage and extensive loss of life caused by Hurricane Matthew, which aid organizations and local authorities say killed more than 800 people.
A total of 271 people have been confirmed dead, according to provisional official figures.
The Haitian government has thus far provided scant information about the victims and damage, while the figures provided by emergency management officials and local officials diverge widely.
Frednel Kedler, the national government’s representative in Grand’Anse, one of the southwestern provinces battered by the Category 4 storm, told EFE the hurricane had left 420 dead and 58 missing in the provincial capital Jeremie alone.
He said that fatality count came from 12 districts in Jeremie, while no information was available from five other districts still cut off from communication.
Jeremie is destroyed and the majority of people are practically living in the street after Matthew severely damaged their homes, Kedler said, adding that the hurricane affected about 70 percent of school infrastructure.
The storm almost entirely demolished Jeremie’s only hospital, whose lone functioning unit is an emergency ward that is poorly equipped and without electricity.
The Haitian government said earlier that the situation in the nation’s southern peninsula was catastrophic and issued an appeal for international aid.
Interim President Jocelerme Privert said numerous countries had offered assistance to Haiti, which still has not recovered from a devastating 2010 earthquake that left some 300,000 dead, a similar number injured and 1.5 million homeless.