PORT-AU-PRINCE – Haiti’s Interim President Jocelerme Privert has declared three days of national mourning starting Sunday for the hundreds of people who fell victim to the raging passage of Hurricane Matthew.
Five days after the eye of the hurricane made landfall in western Haiti, there is a disparity between the figures of victims being provided by the government and local authorities.
According to the latest provisional balance sheet released by the country’s civil protection agency on Saturday, Matthew killed 336 people during its passage through Haiti, left four missing, 211 injured and 61,537 people in shelters.
However, relief organizations and local authorities said Friday that the number of victims exceeds 800.
The largest numbers of deaths were registered in the southwestern Grand Anse department (191) and in the south (78), the agency said.
However, Frednel Kedler, a government official in Grand Anse told EFE that in the department’s capital Jeremie, 420 people alone had died while 58 were missing.
Jeremie has been devastated, leaving nearly everybody on the streets after Matthew severely damaged their homes on Tuesday, according to Kedler.
Some 70 percent of schools have also been damaged by the hurricane, he added.
The only hospital in Jeremie has been almost completely destroyed, with only the emergency department functioning with scarce resources and no power, Kedler explained.
Access to Grand Anse has been severely affected and the area is only accessible by air.
The Haitian government has described the situation in the south as catastrophic and made an appeal for international aid.
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said that 750,000 people are in need of emergency aid in Haiti after Matthew’s passage through the country.