Deadly Matthew heads to US

Storm takes aim at US East Coast

Jamaica Gleaner - - FRONT PAGE -

AS HUR­RI­CANE Matthew churned to­wards the south­east­ern United States, it was not im­me­di­ately clear how many deaths the dan­ger­ous Cat­e­gory Four storm has left in its wake in Haiti.

Matthew blew ashore around dawn yes­ter­day in the poor­est coun­try in the West­ern Hemisphere, hit­ting a cor­ner of Haiti where many peo­ple live in shacks of wood or con­crete blocks.

Dam­age in the hard­est-hit part of Haiti ap­peared to be wide­spread, but be­cause of spotty com­mu­ni­ca­tions, blocked roads and washed-out bridges, the full ex­tent was not known.

PE­TIT-GOAVE, Haiti (AP): HUR­RI­CANE MATTHEW slammed into Haiti’s south­west­ern tip with howl­ing, 145mph winds yes­ter­day, tear­ing off roofs in the poor and largely ru­ral area, up­root­ing trees and leav­ing rivers bloated and choked with de­bris.

At least nine deaths were blamed on the storm dur­ing its week­long march across the Caribbean.

Fore­cast­ers said Matthew could hit Florida to­ward the end of the week and push its way up the East Coast on the week­end. The fore­cast trig­gered a rush by Amer­i­cans to stock up on food, gaso­lene and other emer­gency sup­plies.

The dan­ger­ous Cat­e­gory Four storm – at one point the most pow­er­ful hur­ri­cane in the re­gion in nearly a decade – blew ashore around dawn in the poor­est coun­try in the West­ern Hemisphere, hit­ting a cor­ner of Haiti where many peo­ple live in shacks of wood or con­crete blocks.

It un­loaded heavy rain as it swirled on to­ward a lightly pop­u­lated part of Cuba and the Ba­hamas.

Dam­age in the hard­est-hit part of Haiti ap­peared to be wide­spread, but be­cause of spotty com­mu­ni­ca­tions, blocked roads and washed-out bridges, the full ex­tent was not im­me­di­ately clear. Nor was the num­ber of deaths.

The coun­try’s Civil Pro­tec­tion Agency said many homes were dam­aged or de­stroyed.

“It’s the worst hur­ri­cane that I’ve seen dur­ing my life,” said Fidèle Ni­co­las, a civil-pro­tec­tion of­fi­cial in Nippes, just east of where Matthew came ashore. “It de­stroyed schools, roads, other struc­tures.”

At least three deaths were blamed on the storm in Haiti, in­clud­ing one per­son whose home was crushed by a tree in Port Sa­lut and a 26-year-old man who drowned try­ing to res­cue a child who had fallen into a rush­ing river, au­thor­i­ties said. The child was saved.

Four deaths were recorded in the neigh­bour­ing Do­mini­can Repub­lic and one each in Colom­bia and in St Vin­cent and the Gre­nadines.

The storm left the penin­sula that runs along the south­ern coast of Haiti cut off from the rest of the coun­try. Many streets were im­pass­able be­cause of flood­ing, land­slides or fallen trees. Lo­cal ra­dio re­ported that the wa­ter was shoul­der high in parts of the city of Les Cayes.

Mil­riste Nel­son, a 65-year-old farmer in the town of Leogane, said his neigh­bours fled when the wind ripped the cor­ru­gated metal roof from their home. His own small yard was strewn with the fruit he de­pends on for his liveli­hood.

Haitian au­thor­i­ties had tried to evac­u­ate peo­ple from the most vul­ner­a­ble ar­eas ahead of the storm, but many were re­luc­tant to leave their homes. Some sought shel­ter only af­ter the worst was al­ready upon them.

Matthew was ex­pected to bring 15 to 25 inches of rain, and up to 40 inches (100 cen­time­tres) in iso­lated places, along with up to 10 feet (three me­tres) of storm surge and bat­ter­ing waves.

“They are get­ting ev­ery­thing a ma­jor hur­ri­cane can throw at them,” said Den­nis

Felt­gen, a me­te­o­rol­o­gist with the US Na­tional Hur­ri­cane Cen­ter in Mi­ami.

Matthew briefly reached the top clas­si­fi­ca­tion, Cat­e­gory Five, as it moved across the Caribbean late last week, be­com­ing the strong­est hur­ri­cane in the re­gion since Felix in 2007.

In the US, Florida Gover­nor Rick Scott

urged coastal res­i­dents to pre­pare for the pos­si­bil­ity of a di­rect hit and line up three days’ worth of food, wa­ter and medicine. The Red Cross put out a call for vol­un­teers in South Carolina. And the White House said re­lief sup­plies were be­ing moved to emer­gency stag­ing ar­eas in the South­east.

AP

Women cover their heads with pans as they walk in light rain brought by Hur­ri­cane Matthew in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, yes­ter­day.

JER­MAINE BARN­ABY/FREE­LANCE PHO­TOG­RA­PHER

Per­sons leave the Man­chioneal All-Age School hur­ri­cane shel­ter in Port­land yes­ter­day.

AP AP

Peo­ple watch ris­ing wa­ters roar past a bridge in Pétit Goave, Haiti, yes­ter­day. Hur­ri­cane Matthew slammed into Haiti’s south­west­ern tip with howl­ing, 145mph winds. A woman car­ry­ing a child walks in the rain trig­gered by Hur­ri­cane Matthew in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, yes­ter­day. Hur­ri­cane Matthew roared into the south­west­ern coast of Haiti on Tues­day, threat­en­ing a largely ru­ral cor­ner of the im­pov­er­ished coun­try with dev­as­tat­ing storm con­di­tions as it headed north to­ward Cuba and the eastern coast of Florida.

AP

A sewage worker clears a sewer in a street flooded by the rains of Hur­ri­cane Matthew, in Santo Domingo, Do­mini­can Repub­lic, yes­ter­day. Left: Broth­ers Danny De­larocca (left) and Gino De­larocca, both of Boca Ra­ton, load ply­wood on to their car at the Home De­pot in Deer­field Beach, Florida, yes­ter­day. Anx­ious Florida res­i­dents raided gro­cery store shelves and North Carolina called for the evac­u­a­tion of three bar­rier is­lands as Hur­ri­cane Matthew, the most pow­er­ful At­lantic storm in about decade, threat­ened to rake a large swath of the East Coast in the com­ing days.

RU­DOLPH BROWN/PHO­TOG­RA­PHER

Er­rol Mowatt, 101, leaves a hur­ri­cane shel­ter in Mo­rant Bay, St Thomas, yes­ter­day.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Jamaica

© PressReader. All rights reserved.