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Haiti death toll tops 330 after Hurricane Matthew, officials say

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Efforts to access worst-affected areas have been hampered by flooding and damage after storm devastated parts of island

The number of people killed in Haiti by the devastating effects of Hurricane Matthew had risen above 330, local officials said on Thursday, as rescue workers and aid agencies hoped to begin reaching remote areas of the country to assess the damage.

The hurricane, which hit Haiti on Tuesday, brought 145mph winds and torrential rains that destroyed more than 3,200 homes, displaced 15,000 people, ruined plantations and drowned animals. The toll leapt on Thursday night
as receding waters revealed more bodies.

Natural disasters in Haiti

On Thursday night Matthew was headed for Florida, becoming the first major hurricane threatening a direct hit on the United States in more than 10 years.

Efforts to access the worst-affected areas including the GrandAnse and Sud departments have been hampered by flooding, the collapse of communications networks and the destruction of a key bridge.

But as the weather clears, Haitian authorities, the UN and national and international non-governmental organisations are starting to get a better idea of the scale of the destruction. The airport in the capital, Port-au-Prince, has reopened for humanitarian flights and two portable satellites are being used to restore communications with cut-off areas.

Officials in Haiti on Thursday raised the death toll to 98. At least four other people elsewhere are known to have died as a result of the hurricane.

Marie Alta Jean-Baptiste, the head of the countrys civil protection directorate, warned the death toll was likely to rise as emergency workers reached the stricken regions.

We do know theres a lot of damage in the GrandAnse, and we also know human life has been lost there, she told the Associated Press.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/oct/06/hurricane-matthew-haiti-rescuers-battle-reach-remote-areas

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