Hurricane batters Haiti, moves towards US, Cuba and Dominican Republic

Hurricane batters Haiti, moves towards US, Cuba and Dominican Republic

Hurricane Mathew, the most powerful Caribbean hurricane in nearly a decade has hit Haiti, bringing 230 kilometre winds, heavy rain and dangerous storm surges.

Two people are known to have died in Haiti and four in the neighbouring Dominican Republic.

The death toll is expected to rise as authorities assess the extent of the damage

Southern Haiti has effectively been cut off after the bridge linking it to the capital, Port-au-Prince, collapsed.

Matthew has now moved off the north-eastern coast of Cuba towards Florida, where warnings are in place.

At least 10,000 people were in shelters and there were reports of overcrowded hospitals suffering shortages of fresh water, Mourad Wahba, the UN special representative for Haiti, said.

The storm knocked down communications and blocked roads, hampering emergency efforts.

Haiti is one of the world’s poorest countries, with many residents living in flimsy housing in flood-prone areas.

The UN said the country was facing the “largest humanitarian event” since a huge earthquake in 2010.

More than four million children could be exposed to hurricane damage, Unicef said, warning of the spread of waterborne disease.

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