Southwest Haiti is in shambles after Hurricane Matthew struck the region Tuesday.
Authorities still don’t know the full extent of the devastation, as some communities remain cut off. However, tens of thousands of homes are obliterated and hundreds of people are dead.
According to Civil Protection Agency senior official Guillaume Silvera, at least 522 people are dead in the hard-hit Grand-Anse region, not counting several remote communities still cut off by collapsed roads and bridges.
Port-au-Prince’s official death toll stands at 336 as of Saturday, including 191 in Grand-Anse.
In Grand-Anse, UNICEF said that at least 66,000 homes are destroyed there with 20,000 sustaining heavy damage.
“Information gathered from various sources in the field suggests that the human toll will be heavier than the current official figures,” the agency said in a report.
The first two American cargo planes carrying humanitarian aid arrived at Port-au-Prince’s Toussaint Louverture airport Saturday. According to U.S. Ambassador to Haiti Peter Mulrean, three more planes carrying a total amount of 480 metric tons of humanitarian supplies are expected to arrive over the next few days.
However, there are chokepoints in distributing the aid, namely that Jeremie’s airstrip can’t accommodate large cargo planes, and only operated during daylight.
According to El Shaddai Ministries International official Dony St Germain, young men in villages off the road between Les Cayes and Jermine started putting up blockades of rocks and broken branches to halt the convoys.
“They are seeing these convoys coming through with supplies and they aren’t stopping,” St. Germain said. “They are hungry and thirsty and some are getting angry.”
Concern is growing over an increase in cholera cases following the widespread flooding left in Matthew’s wake.
According to Haiti’s Doctors Without Borders deputy medical coordinator Sophia Cheresal, at least 18 cases of cholera were reported at the Jeremie hospital.
“It’s getting worse and probably some people are going to die,” Cheresal said.
Hospitals and clinics have been damaged or destroyed, and they have struggled to deal with the surge of patients caused by the storm and the cholera increase.
The Haitian government has estimated that at least 350,000 people need some sort of assistance after the storm.
According to the World Food Program, there has massive crop destruction.
After hitting Haiti, Matthew hit Cuba’s eastern tip, damaging hundreds of homes in Baracoa. No casualties were reported.
In the Bahamas, roofs were torn, trees were toppled, and flooding trapped some residents in their homes. No casualties were reported there.
However, before striking Haiti, the storm was blamed for four deaths in the Dominican Republic, one in Colombia, and one in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.