Hurricane Matthew left a broad swath of destruction across Haiti on Wednesday with flooding, rivers of mud that washed out a crucial bridge into the southwestern peninsula of the country and thousands seeking shelter.
Haiti Ambassador Paul Altidor said his government is confident the number of dead will “remain quite low.” He said the government had enough advance warning to begin to move people away from dangerous, flooding areas and he believes that this saved lives.
“It’s been decades since the Caribbean has seen a hurricane of this magnitude, the heavy downpour. This is something that has not been seen in a long, long time. It is a major, major disaster.”
A United Nations representative to Haiti, Mourad Wahba, agreed the country was facing its largest humanitarian crisis since an earthquake in 2010 that left tens of thousands living in tents and makeshift dwellings. Some 55,000 Haitians left homeless by that earthquake were still living in shelters when Hurricane Matthew struck. Wahba said hospitals were jammed with people and running out of clean water.
The U.N. estimated that 2.3 million people are living in areas impacted by the hurricane.