- Title: Haitian port struggles to come back after Matthew
- Date: 6th October 2016
- Summary: LES CAYES, HAITI (OCTOBER 5, 2016) (REUTERS) GENERAL OF LES CAYES CATHEDRAL OUT OF COMMISSION TREE CUT IN HALF CHURCH STATUE WITH WIND VARIOUS OF CATHEDRAL SUITCASES ON STREET TREE KNOCKED OVER NEXT TO AIRPORT TERMINAL FIRE ENGINE PULLING OUT (SOUNDBITE) (Creole) LES CAYES AIRPORT DIRECTOR, RAYMOND QUINS, SAYING: "After the hurricane, it was difficult to make contact with the workers. But finally, I was able to speak with the majority of them, above all those who were helped by firemen. The first thing we all dead was clear the runway. We know it's now clear. Any plane can now land." WOMAN WALKING THROUGH FLOODED HALLWAY GENERAL OF CLOUDS OVER FIELD VARIOUS OF UN VEHICLES UNDER FALLEN TREE MORE OF CLOUDS
- Embargoed: 21st October 2016 04:35
- Keywords: Les Cayes Matthew wind flooding cathedral airport
- Location: LES CAYES, HAITI
- City: LES CAYES, HAITI
- Country: Haiti
- Topics: Disaster/Accidents,Wind/Hurricane/Typhoons/Tornadoes
- Reuters ID: LVA00152V7N7R
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:Huddled in shelters since Hurricane Matthew brought screaming winds through the Haitian port town of Les Cayes, dazed residents emerged on Wednesday (October 5) to find streets under water and their homes destroyed or damaged.
The cyclone killed at least 25 people on its path through Hispaniola, the Caribbean island that Haiti shares with the Dominican Republic, but authorities are just beginning efforts to assess the full scale of the damage.
What was already clear is that the local cathedral, airport, and UN base were put out of commission, but struggling to return to service.
Matthew's 145 mile-per-hour (230 kph) winds uprooted trees, billboards and mobile phone towers as the storm's eye passed close to Les Cayes early on Tuesday on Haiti's picturesque southwestern coast, while the surging sea tossed fishing boats from the beach high on to land.
A mother and her two children, and another child, were swept to their deaths in a raging river a few miles from Les Cayes, in what meteorologists say it was the strongest storm to hit Haiti in more than half a century.
Historians say Les Cayes was destroyed by hurricanes twice in the 18th century, but it bounced back to become an important port exporting coffee and vetiver, an ingredient in perfumes. It is a gateway to nearby Ile-a-Vache, a palm-fringed island Haiti's government wants to develop for international tourism.
Low-lying Ile-a-Vache was in the path of the storm and authorities have not yet been able to communicate with the island to assess the extent of the damage.
Most houses in Les Cayes were left roofless, with many completely inhabitable.
But by Wednesday, the local airport was back in action, an official told Reuters.
"After the hurricane, it was difficult to make contact with the workers. But finally, I was able to speak with the majority of them, above all those who were helped by firemen. The first thing we all dead was clear the runway. We know it's now clear. Any plane can now land," said Raymond Quins, the director of the Les Cayes airport.
With the main road from capital Port-Au-Prince impassable after a swollen river destroyed a bridge and helicopters not taking off because of cloud cover and rain, outside aid has not begun to reach Les Cayes and other coast towns that took the brunt of Matthew.
Conditions were grim in the town's public Immaculate Conception Hospital, where patients were stranded in leaky wards and most doctors had not been seen since before the storm. In the maternity ward's theatre stinking buckets of liquid waste hung off beds, apparently there for several days.
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