- Title: Menacing Hurricane Matthew intensifies close to vulnerable Haiti
- Date: 3rd October 2016
- Summary: LES CAYES, HAITI (OCTOBER 03, 2016) (REUTERS) GENERAL VIEW OF EXTERIOR OF SHELTER TREES SWAYING BEHIND SHELTER VARIOUS OF PEOPLE, INCLUDING CHILDREN, GATHERED IN SHELTER (SOUNDBITE) (Creole) WOMAN WHO WAS EVACUATED FROM HER HOME, FLORIANE JEANTY SAYING: "There are children here without food. We have been hungry since last night. I can't go home because all of my things have gotten wet." CHILDREN PLAYING SECURITY GUARDS AT THE SHELTER CHILDREN (SOUNDBITE) (Creole) ANOTHER RESIDENT OF LES CAYES AT THE SHELTER VENTE DENISE SAYING: "They brought us here but there is no water. We do not have anything. No one has come here to speak with us." VARIOUS OF CHILDREN AT SHELTER
- Embargoed: 18th October 2016 20:52
- Keywords: storm Hurricane Matthew Haiti Les Cayes evacuated shelter
- Location: LES CAYES, HAITI AND INTERNET
- City: LES CAYES, HAITI AND INTERNET
- Country: Haiti
- Topics: Disaster/Accidents
- Reuters ID: LVA00152GD26F
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Hurricane Matthew intensified en route to Haiti on Monday (October 03), bringing 140-mile-per-hour (220 kph) winds and torrential rain that could wreak havoc in Caribbean nations that had yet to evacuate residents of risky coastal homes.
The centre of Matthew, a violent Category 4 storm, is expected to close in on southwestern Haiti on Monday night, the U.S. National Hurricane Centre said. It has veered from Jamaica but the slow-moving cyclone is still forecast to bring gale-force winds and dump hazardous amounts of rain on the island.
Some streets were already flooded in coastal Les Cayes, a town of about 70,000 people that lies in the Matthew's projected path.
Haitian officials said about 2,000 residents of the La Savane neighbourhood of Les Cayes refused to heed government calls to leave their seaside homes and only a few families had yet opted to move to a high school in La Savane, designated as a shelter for up to 600 people.
"There are children here without food. We have been hungry since last night. I can't go home because all of my things have gotten wet," Les Cayes resident Floriane Jeanty said.
"They brought us here but there is no water. We do not have anything. No one has come here to speak with us," another resident Vente Denise said.
Crawling north at just 6 miles per hour (9 kph), the storm threatens to linger enough for its winds and rain to cause great damage, especially over Haiti where deforestation exacerbates flooding and mudslides.
A combination of weak government and precarious living conditions make the country particularly vulnerable to natural disasters. More than 200,000 people were killed when a magnitude 7 earthquake struck in 2010.
Matthew was about 205 miles (330 km) southeast of Kingston, Jamaica, at 11 a.m. EDT Monday (1500 GMT), the NHC said. It is expected to bring between 15 and 40 inches (38 to 101 cm) of rain to parts of Haiti and the Dominican Republic, setting off potentially fatal flash floods and landslides, the NHC said.
The storm comes at a bad time for Haiti. The poorest country in the Americas is set to hold a long-delayed presidential election next Sunday.
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