Hurricane Matthew struck Haiti on Tuesday, October 4, 2016. Since then at least 842 people have been reported dead, as well as 61,500 living in shelters after their homes were destroyed. Countless more are missing or injured, and the destruction of bridges prevents relief from reaching the most effected areas. Haiti, the poorest country of the Americas, hadn’t even recovered from the 2010 earthquake, which killed an estimated 220,000.
The collapse of the Ladigue bridge has completely isolated southern Haiti, so contact with that entire region is nearly impossible. The country is currently experiencing a six-year cholera epidemic, which is expected to worsen now that clean water and food are even harder to access. Crops have been destroyed by the weather, and the cut-off South is where most food was being produced. Haiti is in desperate need of foreign aid in order to keep the death toll from rising any higher.
President Obama is updated on the situation, and is currently preparing for the aftermath of the storm beginning to hit the southern coast of Florida. He urged people to provide help for those who have already been struck by the hurricane, directing them towards the USAID Center for International Disaster Information. His statement regarding the substantial need for aid is as follows:
The specific needs of the victims of Hurricane Matthew in Haiti are still developing, as extensive contact with all affected areas has not been made. General efforts to provide food, water, and medical assistance are a priority until more information is received.