Haiti is bracing itself for Hurricane Matthew, which is expected to hit the Caribbean country early Tuesday, bringing deadly winds, rains and storm surge, the Associated Press reports.
The Category 4 storm was already dropping heavy rains on parts of Haiti, where, as the newswire notes, many people live in areas prone to flooding. The heavy rain also fell in Jamaica and threatened the Dominican Republic, which adjoins Haiti.
According to AP, the hurricane had maximum sustained winds of 145 mph early Tuesday, with forecasters believing that the center would pass near or over Haiti's southwestern tip after dawn.
“We are looking at a dangerous hurricane that is heading into the vicinity of western Haiti and eastern Cuba,” Richard Pasch, with the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami, told the newswire. “People who are impacted by things like flooding and mudslides hopefully would get out and relocate because that’s where we have seen loss of life in the past.”
As AP notes, Haitian officials Monday tried to encourage residents from its impoverished areas whose homes are not expected to withstand the danger to make use of shelters that were being set up, but many feared that what little they had might be stolen.
Authorities also went door-to-door in the cities of Les Cayes and Jeremie to ensure that people knew about the approaching storm. Some 1,200 people were moved to shelters in churches and schools.
“We are continuing to mobilize teams in the south to move people away from dangerous areas,” Marie Alta Jean-Baptiste, head of Haiti’s civil protection agency, told the newswire.
Forecasters predict that the storm could pour at least 40 inches of rain on some areas of Haiti, prompting fears of mudslides and floods. Haiti's civil protection agency has already reported one death after a fisherman drowned in the rough waters caused by the storm. Matthew has already resulted in the deaths of two others: one man in Colombia, and a teen in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Read more at the Washington Post.