Matthew displaces thousands in Haiti, hits Bahamas

After causing severe damage to the south-western peninsula of Haiti, Hurricane Matthew, the fiercest Caribbean storm in almost a decade, has gone on to inflict severe damage in parts of the Bahamas.

As Insight went to press, the Bahamian media was reporting “life-threatening” and “catastrophic conditions across Nassau.”

Tribune 242 said on October 6 that Hurricane Matthew was steadily intensifying and may become a category 4 hurricane before it makes landfall on Andros Island. It also carried warnings of dangerous flooding, winds of up to 140 mph with a storm surge of 12 to 16 feet.

The Category 4 Hurricane made landfall in the Bahamas chain near Inagua on Wednesday night then moved northwards through Thursday morning. New Providence was forecast to be the hardest hit. Officials earlier urged residents to evacuate to higher ground, announcing that government offices would close and that power would be cut.

Reports from Haiti remain patchy as Matthew knocked out communications in many of the worst-affected areas. However, according to the United Nations the damage in Haiti has resulted in the worst humanitarian crisis since the devastating 2010 earthquake. The storm destroyed houses, damaged roads and bridges and caused heavy flooding in residential areas, displacing hundreds of thousands of people. Haitian media are beginning to report that many hundreds may have died in the storm. Meteorological reports indicated that Hurricane Matthew was the third strongest hurricane ever recorded in Haiti, and the strongest in 52 years.

Following the passage of the hurricane, the Haitian government appealed for international assistance, saying that more than 300,000 people may need immediate help. According to local reports, Route Nationale 2 was cut at Petit-Goâve after the collapse of the bridge La Digue. Edgar Celestin, a spokesperson for the Haitian Civil Defence, said that it will not be easy to restore access as the road was the only one linking Port-au-Prince to the south-western peninsula.

The US government said….

This is an extract from the Caribbean Council’s leading weekly editorially independent publication, Caribbean Insight, which provides in depth information on current economic, political and commercial developments in the Caribbean and news on events in Europe and the US that affect the region. Business people, academics, and those with a general interest in the Caribbean find it an invaluable tool for developing and maintaining knowledge and providing an insight into political, economic and commercial events in the region.

The publication is available internationally on a subscription-only basis. SUBSCRIBE NOW