PORT-AU-PRINCE / SANTO DOMINGO - Hurricane Matthew has killed at least five people in Haiti and four more in neighboring Dominican Republic, as well as displacing 14,000 people.
Haitian Interior Minister Joseph Yanick said two people were killed Tuesday when their house collapsed in the Ouest department, where capital Port-au-Prince is located.
One man died in Port Salut in southern Haiti, where hundreds of homes were destroyed after the category 4 hurricane slammed into the area yesterday with winds of more than 220 kilometers per hour.
A man from the southern town of Bariadel died when his home was hit by heavy rains and winds, while on Sunday night a fisherman drowned in Saint-Jean-du-Sud, also in the Sud Department of Haiti.
Denis McClean, spokesman for the UN agency for disaster prevention, said the international body was "very concerned" about the impact of the hurricane on Haiti, which is still recovering from the devastation wrought by the 2010 earthquake.
In addition to destroying the main bridge connecting the southern city of Grand Goave with the capital, Matthew also caused serious problems to telephone and Internet communications between Port-au-Prince, the southern department of Grand'Anse and the southern cities of Jeremie, Anse D'haineau and Pestel, among others.
Emergency services said more than 200 households in southern Haiti were destroyed, while thousands of people were displaced and forced to flee to shelters.
In the Dominican Republic the number of displaced people rose to 21,951. A total of 447 homes have been damaged while 31 towns have been isolated.
In Santo Domingo, a five-year-old boy and a 55-year-old man were reportedly killed when their homes were hit by the hurricane, while two girls aged seven and eight died when their home collapsed due to a landslide.
The hurricane has crossed over to the eastern tip of Cuba and is now heading to the Bahamas, the US-based National Hurricane Center said in its advisory at 11pm Tuesday local time (3am Wednesday GMT), issuing a hurricane warning for the southeastern US state of Florida.
Emergencies have been declared in Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Georgia, with South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley planning a complete evacuation of coastal communities on Wednesday, affecting around 1.1 million of the state's 4.8 million people.