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Hurricane Matthew Leaves Southern Haiti an Isolated Disaster Zone

  • VOA News

A man pushes a bicycle in a flood zone after Hurricane Matthew passed through Les Cayes, Haiti, Oct. 4, 2016.

A man pushes a bicycle in a flood zone after Hurricane Matthew passed through Les Cayes, Haiti, Oct. 4, 2016.

Southern Haiti is an isolated disaster zone after Hurricane Matthew tore across the island Tuesday, destroying power and telephone lines, and washing away the only bridge connecting the peninsula to the rest of the country.

Communications between the capital and three provinces are nonexistent, making it impossible for authorities and emergency workers to know the number of casualties and damage details.

VOA Creole reporter Jean-Hernst Eliscar says many houses in the southern city of Les Cayes are flooded and have no roofs.

In Pictures: Hurricane Matthew

Matthew, a powerful Category 4 storm, slammed into Haiti on Tuesday with winds of 230 kilometers per hour and fierce rain.

A girl watches as authorities arrive to evacuate people from her house in Tabarre, Haiti, Oct. 3, 2016.

A girl watches as authorities arrive to evacuate people from her house in Tabarre, Haiti, Oct. 3, 2016.

Mourad Wahba, U.N. deputy special representative for the U.N. Stabilization Mission in Haiti, said in a statement Tuesday that Hurricane Matthew has caused the biggest humanitarian crisis in Haiti since the 2010 earthquake, which killed more than 225,000 people. He said at least 10,000 people are in shelters.

The high winds and rain of Hurricane Matthew roar over the waterfront of Baracoa, Cuba, Oct. 4, 2016.

The high winds and rain of Hurricane Matthew roar over the waterfront of Baracoa, Cuba, Oct. 4, 2016.

At least two deaths are reported, and residents in the Western Hemisphere's poorest country can hardly afford any more misery.

As much as 102 centimeters (40 inches) of rain is expected in some areas before the storm pulls away, increasing the risk of deafly floods and mudslides.

Fresh drinking water, safe shelter and sanitization will also be major challenges when cleanup begins.

Matthew struck Haiti after roaring across the Dominican Republic, where at least four deaths are reported.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami calls Matthew "extremely dangerous" and predicts it will remain a "powerful storm" at least through Thursday.

By late Tuesday, the center said the eye of the hurricane had made landfall near the eastern tip of Cuba.

Hurricane warnings are posted for eastern Cuba and much of the Bahamas.

Probable path of Hurricane Matthew

Probable path of Hurricane Matthew

Hurricane watches are already out for parts of Florida, with Matthew expected to strike the U.S. East Coast by the end of the week.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott has already declared a state of emergency, warning residents to prepare for the worst.

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal has declared states of emergency in 13 coastal counties, and South Carolina's Nikki Haley is calling for more than 1 million residents to get ready to evacuate.

South Carolina's Gov. Nikki Haley warned more than 1 million residents to prepare to evacuate. She said if the track of the hurricane does not change by Wednesday, she will issue an evacuation order for people to move away from the coast.

Matthew is the strongest hurricane to tear through the Atlantic and Caribbean Sea since Hurricane Felix in 2007.

VOA Creole service contributed to this report.

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