Misery deepens in devastated Haiti
JEREMIE, Haiti — People across southwest Haiti were digging through the wreckage of their homes Friday, salvaging what they could of their meager possessions after Hurricane Matthew killed hundreds of people in the impoverished country.
The hurricane killed at least 300 people in Haiti, according to the national government, but that figure is sure to rise as aid teams reach areas cut off by washed-out bridges or fallen trees. A Reuters tally from local and national officials put the death count at more than 800.
The town of Chantal and its surroundings were among the worst hit, with 106 confirmed dead.
Residents said people died after being struck by falling trees or collapsing roofs. Others disappeared in the floodwaters.
“This is killing us,” said Hermosante Fedna, 85, whose husband died. “There is nothing left to live on. Our trees and our crops are gone.”
The storm left signs of devastation all around the southwestern peninsula.
Outside the coastal town of Jeremie, home after home was in ruins.
Drew Garrison, a Haitibased missionary who flew in Friday, said several fishing villages were submerged and he could see bodies floating in the water.
“Anything that wasn’t concrete was flattened,” said Garrison, whose or- ganization, Mission of Hope Haiti, based in Austin, Texas, was bringing in emergency supplies Saturday. “There were several little fishing villages that just looked desolate, no life.”
Haiti’s government has estimated that at least 350,000 people need some kind of assistance in what is likely to be the country’s worst humanitarian crisis since the devastating earthquake of January 2010.
Haitians salvage what they can in Jeremie, a town on the western tip of the country. Hundreds died in the hurricane.