Hurricane Matthew death toll nears 900 in Haiti,
cholera takes lives
by Makini Brice and Joseph Guyler Delva
Hurricane Matthew's trail of destruction in Haiti stunned those emerging
from the aftermath on Friday, with the number of dead soaring to 877,
tens of thousands left homeless and outbreaks of cholera already
claiming more lives.
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 on the coast of Haiti's fertile western tip.
Rural clinics overflowed with patients whose wounds including broken
bones had not been treated since the storm hit on Tuesday. Food was
scarce and at least seven people died of cholera, likely because of
flood water mixing with sewage.
The storm razed homes to their foundations. The corrugated metal roofs
of those still standing were ripped off, the contents visible from above
as if peering into doll's houses.
At least three towns reported dozens of fatalities, including the hilly
farming village of Chantal, whose mayor said 86 people were killed,
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," said Jean-Donald, his young daughter by his side, crying
The death toll continued to rise on Friday in southwest Haiti. Dozens
more were missing, many of them in the Grand'Anse region on the northern
side of the peninsula.
"We flew over parts of the Grand'Anse region. It's a humanitarian
catastrophe," said Frenel Kedner, a government official in the town of
Jeremie in southwest Haiti. "The people urgently need food, water,
CHOLERA CASES RISE
In the town of Anse-d'Hainault, seven people died of cholera, a disease
that did not exist in Haiti until U.N. peace keepers introduced it after
a 2010 earthquake that killed some 200,000 people.
Another 17 cholera cases were reported in Chardonnieres on the south
"Due to massive flooding and its impact on water and sanitation
infrastructure, cholera cases are expected to surge after Hurricane
Matthew and through the normal rainy season until the start of 2017,"
the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) said in a statement.
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 877.
Haiti's central civil protection agency, which takes longer to collate
numbers because it needs to visually confirm victims itself, said 271
people died as Matthew smashed through the western peninsula on Tuesday
with 145 mph (233 kph) winds and torrential rain.
Some 61,500 people were in shelters, the agency said.
Matthew pushed the sea into fragile coastal villages, some of which are
only now being contacted.
Coastal town Les Anglais lost "several dozen" people, Louis-Paul
Raphael, the central government representative in the region, told
Les Anglais was the first place in Haiti that Matthew reached, as a
powerful Category 4 storm before it moved north, lost strength and
lashed central Florida on Friday.
With cellphone networks down and roads flooded by sea and river water,
aid has been slow to reach towns and villages. Instead, locals have been
helping each other.
"My house wasn't destroyed, so I am receiving people, like it's a
temporary shelter," said Bellony Amazan in the town of Cavaillon, where
around a dozen people died. Amazan said she had no food to give people.
Outside Chantal, stall holders at a makeshift market were selling
vegetables and soft drinks, brought in from Port-Au-Prince as roads were
cleared to the capital.
"All our houses have been destroyed. This is our existence," said one
stall holder, who declined to give her name.
(Reporting by Joseph Guyler Delva; Writing by Frank Jack Daniel; Editing
by Simon Gardner and Paul Tait)
Crisis as 70,000 face hunger in drought-wracked county
by GALGALO BOCHA
A severe humanitarian crisis looms in Tana River County with 70,000
people facing food and water shortages following persistent drought.
The county and national governments have come together to mitigate the
situation that administrators termed as “worrying”.
At least 140 villages in Tana Delta, Tana River and Tana North
sub-counties have been put under water trucking programme by the county
The situation is severest in Tana North, where the county has deployed
30 water bowsers.
“All dams have dried up and the situation is severe,” said Governor
Hussein Dado after a meeting with County Commissioner Isaiah Nakoru.
Mr Dado said Sh100 million had been set aside to buy cereals and cooking
oil for urgent distribution.
He appealed for help from the World Food Programme (WFP) and United
States Agency for International Development (USAid), saying the joint
national and county government aid was “a drop in the ocean”.
The governor also asked the national government to release to the
residents the 40,000 bags of maize recently harvested from the
Galana-Kulalu Irrigation Project, which is sandwiched between Tana River
and Kilifi counties.
The two levels of government have also allocated Sh12.3 million for mass
vaccination of nearly a million livestock against diseases emanating
from the dry spell.
“The national government will provide Sh3.2 million through the National
Drought Management Authority and the governor has said they have set
aside Sh9 million towards the mass vaccination campaign,” said Mr Nakoru.
He said 45,900 people had been put on the national government-sponsored
project, Food for Asset, and more beneficiaries will be enlisted in the
The programme also involves the purchase of livestock in
drought-stricken areas for slaughter by the Kenya Meat Commission (KMC).
In Tana Delta, 25,000 people in Assa Location and Hurara were in dire
need of food and water.
100,000 Trapped in Surrounded South Sudanese Town
Voice of America
GENEVA — The United Nations refugee agency reports that 100,000 people
are effectively trapped by violence in the South Sudanese town of Yei.
With no one allowed in or out, it warns, the town could soon face a food
Until recently, Yei — located in Central Equatoria state — has been
largely spared from the violence and attacks that have gripped South
Sudan since December 2013.
But, the UNHCR says, conditions for the inhabitants of Yei and
surrounding areas have deteriorated since renewed conflict between
government and rebel forces broke out in July.
UNHCR spokesman William Spindler says the situation came to a head
earlier this month when more than 30,000 people in surrounding areas
flocked to Yei, following deadly attacks and looting of property.
He tells VOA that government forces are surrounding the town.
"They are restricting access into the town and also preventing people
from leaving — presumably because they suspect them of siding with
opposition forces,” Spindler said. “Now people are not allowed to leave
to go and tend to the fields and the crops. And this potentially could
If farmers are unable to reach their fields, Spindler says, harvests
will rot, the upcoming planting season is likely to be missed and there
will be no crops next year.
He says the displaced already are feeling the sting of having had to
abandon their homes, with food prices soaring as commodities disappear
from the market.
"Many internally displaced people have reported that their food stocks
have been looted,” Spindler said. “Two local hospitals are functioning
at reduced capacity. Lack of high-energy food for malnourished children
and breastfeeding mothers is becoming critical."
Aid agencies in Juba are responding by gathering food, non-food items,
drugs and other essential supplies, he says. However, the operation is
stalled as agencies wait to be granted access to Yei.
The situation adds to the humanitarian crisis in South Sudan, where some
2.5 million people have been displaced from their homes since the