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Hurricane Matthew: Death toll soars to 800 in Haiti

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Hurricane Matthew: Death toll soars to 800 in Haiti

Thereport24.com Desak:

The UN has warned it could take days for the full impact of Hurricane Matthew in Haiti to emerge, as the death toll soars to more than 800, reports BBC.

The death toll has doubled, and may rise, as rescue teams gain access to southern areas cut off by the storm.

The World Food Programme's Carlos Veloso says some of the hard-hit towns can only be reached by air or sea.

Many of the deaths in Haiti were in the south-western coast, which suffered the full force of the hurricane this week.

Hurricane Matthew is currently battering the coastline of the US state of Florida but has been downgraded to a Category Two storm, with sustained wind speed dropping to 110mph (177km/h).

Category Five is the strongest on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale of hurricane intensity.

Rescue efforts are under way to assess the destruction left in the wake of the most powerful Caribbean storm in a decade.

Haiti's Civil Protection Agency on Friday doubled the death toll from the hurricane from 400 to more than 800.

Government and UN officials estimate that some 350,000 people are in need of assistance.

"This is a situation changing all the time," the World Food Programme's Haiti director, Mr Veloso, said.

"I think that for the next four or five days, maybe only in five days, we will have a more clear picture of the impact and the death toll."

Non-governmental organisations say communication with the areas worst affected has been hampered by lack of phone coverage and downed power lines.

The US is sending its USS Mesa Verde navy ship to assist with rescue efforts, as well as nine military helicopters to help deliver food and water to the hardest-hit areas.

The Red Cross has launched an emergency appeal for $6.9m (£5.6m) "to provide medical, shelter, water and sanitation assistance to 50,000 people".

Haiti - one of the world's poorest countries - has never fully recovered from the earthquake that killed thousands of people in 2010 and a cholera epidemic that followed.

Ends/thereport24.com/HB/Oct 08, 2016