Hur­ri­cane toll in Haiti rises to 1,000

The Sun (Malaysia) - - NEWS WITHOUT BORDERS -

PORT-AU-PRINCE: Haiti started bury­ing some of its dead in mass graves in the wake of Hur­ri­cane Matthew, a gov­ern­ment of­fi­cial said yes­ter­day, as cholera spread in the devastated south­west and the death toll from the storm rose to 1,000 peo­ple.

The pow­er­ful hur­ri­cane, the fiercest Caribbean storm in nearly a decade, slammed into Haiti a week ago with 233kph winds and tor­ren­tial rains that left 1.4 mil­lion peo­ple in need of hu­man­i­tar­ian as­sis­tance, the UN Of­fice for the Co­or­di­na­tion of Hu­man­i­tar­ian Af­fairs said.

A Reuters tally of num­bers from lo­cal of­fi­cials showed that 1,000 peo­ple were killed by the storm in Haiti, which has a pop­u­la­tion of about 10 mil­lion and is the poor­est coun­try in the Amer­i­cas.

The of­fi­cial death toll from the cen­tral civil pro­tec­tion agency is 336, a slower count be­cause of­fi­cials must visit each vil­lage to con­firm the num­bers.

Au­thor­i­ties had to start bury­ing the dead in mass graves in Jeremie be­cause the bod­ies were start­ing to de­com­pose, said Ked­ner Frenel, the most se­nior cen­tral gov­ern­ment of­fi­cial in the Grand’Anse re­gion on Haiti’s western penin­sula.

Frenel said 522 peo­ple were killed in Grand’Anse alone. A tally of deaths re­ported by may­ors from 15 of 18 mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties in Sud De­part­ment on the south side of the penin­sula showed 386 peo­ple there. In the rest of the coun­try, 92 peo­ple were killed, the same tally showed.

Frenel said there was great con­cern about cholera spread­ing, and that au­thor­i­ties were fo­cused on get­ting wa­ter, food and med­i­ca­tion to thou­sands in shel­ters.

Cholera causes se­vere di­ar­rhoea and can kill within hours if un­treated.

It is spread through con­tam­i­nated wa­ter and has a short in­cu­ba­tion pe­riod, which leads to rapid out­breaks.

Gov­ern­ment teams fanned out across the hard-hit south­west­ern tip of Haiti to re­pair treatment cen­tres and reach the epi­cen­tre of one out­break. – Reuters

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