PORT-AU-PRINCE – After making landfall in the southwestern peninsula of Tiburon, Hurricane Matthew moved along the Windward Passage on Tuesday. The death toll was rising.
Haitian authorities initially reported 10 deaths. Reuters reported 102. Interior Minister Francois Anick Joseph told The Miami Herald there were 108 confirmed deaths.
The storm's 145 mph winds delivered death and destruction to the poorest country in the Americas. And on Thursday, Haitian authorities were assessing the impact of the Category 4 storm, as wreckage blocked access to remote areas and flooding caused the Ladigue Bridge to collapse at Petit-Goâve.
Schools and churches were destroyed and thousands lost homes, livestock and crops. Miami-Dade County Commissioner Jean Monestime said Thursday morning that the Haitian-American community was asking the public for help, as the situation in Haiti was "desperate."
After the U.S. Southern Command conducted the first assessment flight, authorities released a video showing the devastation in Jérémie, an isolated coastal city in Grand'Anse.
"We do know there's a lot of damage in the Grand'Anse, and we also know human life has been lost there," said Marlia Alta Jean-Baptiste, head of Haiti's civil protection agency.
Jesse Baker, of nonprofit Haiti Communitere in Port-au-Prince, said Haitians need water, food, sanitation supplies, tarps, roof rebuilding materials and metal siding. Jean-Michel Vigreux, nonprofit CARE, said he hasn't been able to get in touch with the organization's team in Grand'Anse.
"It's the worst hurricane that I've seen during my life," said Fidele Nicolas, a civil protection official in Nippes, just east of where the storm came ashore.
The U.S. Southern Command deployed a team to Port-au-Prince. The helicopters at Grand Cayman Island will be flying to Haiti when weather permits. Another team left the Soto Cano Air Base in Honduras to help Haitian authorities.
The Haitian electoral council postponed Sunday's presidential election.
The United Nations Deputy Special Representative for Haiti Mourad Wahba called the country's humanitarian crisis the worst since the devastating earthquake in 2010.
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