PORT-AU-PRINCE: Hurricane Matthew’s trail of destruction in Haiti stunned those viewing the aftermath today, with the number of dead soaring to 842, tens of thousands made homeless and crops destroyed in the impoverished Caribbean nation’s breadbasket region.
Information trickled in from remote areas that were cut off by the storm, and it became clear that at least 175 people died in villages clustered among the hills and coast of Haiti’s fertile western tip.
Matthew pushed the sea into fragile coastal villages, some of which are only now being contacted.
At least three towns reported dozens of fatalities, including the hilly farming village of Chantal, whose mayor said 86 people perished, mostly when trees crushed houses. He said 20 more people were missing.
“A tree fell on the house and flattened it, the entire house fell on us. I couldn’t get out,” said driver Jean-Pierre Jean-Donald, 27, who had been married for a year.
“People came to lift the rubble, and then we saw my wife who had died in the same spot,” Jean-Donald said, his young daughter by his side, crying “Mommy.”
Dozens more were missing, many of them in the Grand’Anse region on the northern side of the peninsula.
Coastal town Les Anglais also lost “several dozen” people, the central government representative in the region, Louis-Paul Raphael, told Reuters.
With fatalities mounting, various government agencies and committees differed on total deaths. A Reuters count of deaths reported by civil protection and local officials put the toll at 842.