More than 300 persons have been killed so far in Haiti on Thursday, as a result of Hurricane Matthew – the most powerful Caribbean storm in a decade – with the death toll expected to rise.
At least 50 people were feared dead in the town of Roche-a-Bateau alone, with rescue workers in the island nation struggling to access areas cut off from the storm.
The hurricane, now a Category Three storm with sustained winds of 120mph (193km/h), is heading up the coastline of the US state of Florida.
As the death toll rises and crucial infrastructure crumbles, thousands of people have been displaced.
Mourad Wahba, the UN secretary-general’s deputy special representative for Haiti, described Matthew as the “largest humanitarian event” since the earthquake.
The hurricane surfaced on Tuesday in Haiti but it’s devastating impact only started to come to light on Thursday.
There are reports that about 1,580 homes have been flooded in the country with over 3,215 families affected by the severe storm.
Most of the deaths in Haiti were in towns and fishing villages around the southern coast, with many killed by falling trees, flying debris and swollen rivers.
“I cannot emphasize enough that everyone in our state must prepare now for a direct hit,” Florida Gov. Rick Scott said. “Having a plan in place could mean the difference between life and death.”