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Hurricane Matthew cut through southwestern Haiti on Tuesday, flooding towns and knocking out at least one major bridge, as it rolled toward Florida where it is expected to hit late Thursday.
The hurricane, with winds as strong as 145 mph, caused more than 100 deaths in Haiti, government officials said Thursday. Additional deaths in the region included four in the Dominican Republic, one in Colombia and one in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
The hurricane tore roofs off homes and washed away a bridge in the town of Petit Goave. The danger of flash floods and mudslides remained even after the hurricane swept through.
“Haiti just suffered a drought and now has to deal with this,” said Holly Frew, emergency communication manager for CARE USA. “What crops they had were washed away. That will be a concern, helping people get their livelihoods back.”
Before the hurricane hit, CARE distributed food and clean water to evacuation sites, which was the biggest and most immediate need, said Frew. At first, only a few hundred people showed up, but as the storm approach, that number rose to 7,000, as people sought shelter from the pounding winds and rain, she said.
Concerns also include the spread of waterborne diseases, such as cholera which is already present in the country of 10 million people.
View photos of the destruction in Haiti below.
Foreboding clouds cover Haiti’s capital Port-au-Prince as Hurricane Matthew approached on Oct. 3. Photo by Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters
Hurricane Matthew packed 145 mph winds, and caused at least five deaths in Haiti. Photo by Andres Martinez Casares/Reuters
People watch as river waters roll through Port-au-Prince on Oct. 4. Photo by Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters
People wade through a flooded street in the impoverished Cite-Soleil neighborhood of Port-au-Prince. Photo by Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters
Murky water rushed through the Cite-Soleil commune on Oct. 4. Water-spread diseases are now a concern following Hurricane Matthew. Photo by Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters
A man wades across a flooded street in Port-au-Prince. Photo by Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters
Residents work to clear a house of debris after Hurricane Matthew struck Les Cayes, Haiti. Photo by Andres Martinez Casares/Reuters
A girl walks through a flooded area in Les Cayes, where water was waist-deep. Photo by Andres Martinez Casares/Reuters
Les Cayes was one of the areas hit hard by Hurricane Matthew. Aid organizations stocked evacuation shelters with food and water ahead of time. Photo by Andres Martinez Casares/Reuters
Supporters of the Fanmi Lavalas political party splash around in flood waters in Port-au-Prince. Haiti has planned a re-do election on Sunday, which is still expected to proceed despite the hurricane. Photo by Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters
Editor’s Note: Haiti’s presidential election re-do was scrubbed Wednesday due to hurricane damage.
Larisa Epatko produced multimedia web features and broadcast reports with a focus on foreign affairs for the PBS NewsHour. She has reported in places such as Jordan, Pakistan, Iraq, Haiti, Sudan, Western Sahara, Guantanamo Bay, China, Vietnam, South Korea, Turkey, Germany and Ireland.
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