Haiti: UN Agencies Call for Urgent Food Aid

Around 800,000 people in Haiti need urgent food aid after the devastation of Hurricane Mathew, according to an emergency assessment by UN agencies.

Miguel Barreto, the regional director of the World Food Programme (WFP) for Latin America and the Caribbean, warned of the need for funds to continue food distribution and, 'help the 800,000 people who urgently need food aid.'

'The winter planting season is approaching fast. Agricultural producers have lost everything. If we do not act now to provide grains, fertilizers and other materials they need, they will not be able to plant and then will face persistent food insecurity,' said NathanaÃ'l Hishamunda, the Representative of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Haiti.

Haiti urgently needs $56 million dollars to ensure food aid for the population affected by Matthew during the next three months.

The National Coordinator of Food Safety has also urged effective response coordination through institutional mechanisms and the establishment of a good monitoring, evaluation and consultation system to allow consistency, transparency and efficiency.

A week after the hurricane, the government of Haiti, the CNSA, WFP and FAO conducted an evaluation of the damages.

The report resulting from it also refers to the need to provide food and basic livelihood to 1.4 million Haitians who have lost everything as a result of hurricane.

According to a emergency statement posted on the WFP website, crops in the country were virtually wiped out, about 50 percent of livestock was lost in some areas, food stores suffered serious damage, and the availability of local products has now been reduced to fruits.

In addition, on the southern coast of Haiti, fishing activities have been paralyzed because floods which destroyed nets, traps, boats, engines and all the fishermen need to work.

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PAHO anticipates cholera outbreak in Haiti

PORT AU PRINCE, Haiti (CMC) — The Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO), has warned that acute diarrheal diseases, including cholera are threatening the population.

Dr Jean Luc Poncelet, PAHO’s Representative in Haitu, said the organisation has set up field operations with the country’s Ministry of Health in the towns of Jeremie and Les Cayes.

“Hurricane Matthew has devastated parts of the country, in the Southwest, it is estimated that 80 percent of the houses have lost their roofs, and most hospitals suffered major damages. At least 100 facilities have lost their ability to function,” Poncelet said.

“Before the hurricane, we had serious problems of access to health, water and sanitation, and cases of cholera,” he added. “So when the water supply is interrupted, cholera will increase. We are seriously concerned about an epidemic of cholera, and that’s why the Ministry of Health with our assistance is taking all measures possible to avoid that happening.”

To date, multinational teams of experts have been deployed to support the government’s efforts against cholera outbreaks. Groups were sent to Jeremie, Les Cayes and Port-au-Prince to support humanitarian operations and restore the capacity of health services and systems.

Poncelet said PAHO is working with the Haitian Ministry of Health to increase the availability of medicines and medical supplies, and cooperating in the organization and planning of the health response to possible outbreaks.

Experts in emergencies and disasters, health services, epidemiological surveillance, logistics, transport and communication have been deployed from PAHO’s Haiti office, its Washington headquarters, and other offices.

With scattered outbreaks of cholera confirmed and in anticipation of an increase in the number of cases, on Sunday, PAHO sent shipments of cholera kits containing oral rehydration solutions, catheters and water chlorination treatments to attend patients with acute diarrhea and cholera.

Poncelet said donations have already started to pour into Haiti, with a French cargo jet arriving on Tuesday with 69 tons of supplies.

France’s Ambassador to Haiti, Elisabeth Beton said her government was interested in collaborating with Haiti’s national response, and sent two water purification stations, for emergency situations, six units for basic sanitation and hygiene, 13 tons of medical and first aid supplies, and cholera treatment kits, PAHO said.

Haiti’s Minister of External Relations and Culture Pierrot Delienne thanked the international community for the donations, and the European Union’s ambassador in Haiti said the donation resulted from good coordination between PAHO and national and international officials.

PAHO also said a Dutch ship arrived with supplies and experts to rehabilitate hospitals.

Additionally, shipments of donations from Colombia and the Dominican Republic, among others, have arrived in the French-speaking Caribbean country.

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Solidarity Help from Venezuela Arrives in Santiago de Cuba

The resources sent are mostly of construction material to be used to repair the infrastructure severly damagged by Hurricane Matthew in eastern Cuba

Venezuela sent 327 tons of aid for the victims of the Hurricane Matthew that battered eastern Cuba last week, according to the Minister of Housing and Habitat of the South American nation, Manuel Quevedo.

According to Prensa Latina, the official said the aid, which arrived by ship to Santiago de Cuba, consists of construction material to be used to repair the infrastructure destroyed by the powerful storm.

He added those resources are part of the Venezuelan government stock for the housing missions and are shared with Cuba in solidarity. Besides, they are sending 600 electric transformers and other machinery.

The Cuban ambassador to Venezuela Rogelio Polanco thanked the governemnt for the gesture that comes after Matthew, a category four hurricane, battered the easternmost part of  Cuba
with maximum sustained winds of 220 kilometers per hour.

Polanco said that in some of the towns affected, close to 90 percent of the houses and building were damaged and that thousands of workers from all over the country work now to help repair them.

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Guantanamo Recovering from Hurricane Mathew

Havana, Oct 13 (Prensa Latina) The Cuban province of Guantanamo, especially the municipality of Baracoa, is recovering gradually from the damage caused in recent days by hurricane Mathew, according to reports today in the capital.
 
The newspaper Venceremos reported that after several days of hard work in Baracoa, one of the most affected areas by Mathew, life is beginning to go back to normalcy with the reestablishment of public transportation to and from the area and the continuation of the school year, starting on October 17th.

On the 17th classes will resume in 30 schools, including 21 elementary schools, four secondary schools, one high school, one special-education school and three day-care centers.

The newspaper added that thanks to the effort of 33 teams, composed of 154 men from nine provinces in the country, progress has been made with the cleaning up and sanitation of the city of Baracoa, as well as restoration of the electric and communication lines.

In the municipality of San Antonio del Sur, the recovery goes at good pace, thanks to the support of workers from other provinces the hard work of the population.

According to Municipal Defense Council President Israel Rodriguez, little by little, the damage caused by the hurricane is being left in the past.

Rodriguez asserted that businesses and agriculture have resumed operations, while the Cuban Telecommunication Company (ETECSA) has recovered the optical fiber and 90 percent of mobile telephone communications, and is also making progress in full restoration of the fixed-telephone service.

The provincial electricity company confirmed that of around 78,600 clients affected by Mathew, more than half have seen their service restored, especially in the municipalities of Yateras, San Antonio del Sur and Imias.

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Cuban Artists Take Their Art to the Communities Affected by Mathew

Despite the recovery stage in which the villagers in the municipalities affected by Hurricane Matthew are, they made a pause today to feed their soul with the art offered by Cuban artists.

When Alexis Leyva Machado, aka Kcho, arrived at this city, the artistic group of the Youth Labor Army (EJT) in Guantanamo joined him along with a contingent of young artists of the territory.

About twenty artists from Guantanamo will work in the city of Baracoa along with the Martha Machado brigade, which is led by Kcho, who set camp in the space where, before Matthew, was occupied by a playground. Amid their tents and surrounded by flags they enliven the evenings and nights of this city.

Meanwhile, the artistic group the EJT visits the communities of Imias and Maisí to bring art and dreams, explained Major Ruben Nicolas Macias, director of the group belonging to the Revolutionary Armed Forces.

'Our main mission is to brighten the soul of each of the victims, with cultural activities; likewise we will help in the debris removal actions and the recovery of affected facilities', he said.

Another group of young artists and intellectuals headed by writer and President of the Hermanos Saiz association (AHS) in Guantanamo, Eldis Baratutes Benavides, went to the municipality of Maisi, located in the Eastern point of Cuba and one of the most affected areas.
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Hundreds stranded in North Carolina floods after Hurricane Matthew

The rivers were expected to crest early this week, with a few areas surpassing previous records.

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. - (AP) - Matthew is long gone from the Atlantic coast early Monday, but the devastation lingers, most notably in North Carolina, where flooded cities are trying to dry out and those downstream are keeping a close eye on rising rivers.

"This is still an extremely unsafe situation", McCrory said. "Our models show very, very risky conditions as those rivers go over their edges". The Lumber River in Lumberton was 4 feet above its record level Sunday afternoon and was forecast to remain there for at least five days.

Matthew sideswiped hundreds of miles of the USA coastline from Florida through Georgia and the Carolinas, its eye staying far enough offshore that the damage in many places along the coast was relatively modest, consisting mostly of flooded streets, flattened trees and blown-down signs and awnings.

According to Haiti's Civil Protection Service, more than 330 people were killed but some media outlets citied figures from local officials that claimed the death toll exceeded 800.

They heard her cries for help while riding on top of a Humvee, and when they couldn't get her with a rope, a National Guard soldier swam to her, staying until a rescue boat arrived, Emergency Management Director Gordon Deno, said. The agency warned that floodwater could be charged by downed power lines or could hide unsafe debris.

McCrory said 334 rescue workers risked their lives carrying out 877 rescues overnight.

Frenel said 522 people died in Grand'Anse alone. Most were swept away by flood waters. "At night it is deadly". And, he said, "Trees are down in every neighborhood on nearly every road".

The precise death toll remains uncertain. "The power of water can kill people". "Turn around, don't drown".

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley on Sunday lifted evacuation orders in four counties, saying residents in another two may be allowed back on Monday.

Even after the storm was downgraded to a post-tropical cyclone on Sunday and it moved out to sea, officials warned that the worst is not over.

The storm still packed hurricane force winds as far as 90 miles (150 km) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds 240 miles (390 km) away.U.S. President Barack Obama declared a state of emergency in Georgia and Florida, freeing up federal money to help the states fix damaged infrastructure and remove debris.

On Sunday, the most powerful Atlantic storm since 2007 unleashed torrential rains and powerful winds as it churned slowly north after pummelling the southeastern coast of the United States, killing at least 11 people in Florida, Georgia and North Carolina since Thursday and leaving more than two million businesses and homes without power.

In Haiti, where the storm killed hundreds of people: "A massive relief effort is being mounted for hurricane-ravaged parts of Haiti", NPR's Jason Beaubien reports from Port au Prince, "with President Obama urging Americans to give whatever they can".

The storm sideswiped hundreds of miles of US coastline from Florida to the Carolinas, but its eye remained far enough offshore that the coastline damage in many places was relatively modest, consisting mostly of flooded streets, flattened trees and blown-down signs and awnings. By the time the storm hit Charleston, S.C., it was a Category 1 hurricane, but the historic port city still faced a 6-foot storm surge, severe flooding and fallen trees.

An estimated 2 million people in the Southeast were ordered to evacuate their homes as Matthew closed in.

The storm left 1000 people dead in Haiti, and on Monday United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said some Haitian towns and villages had been nearly wiped off the map.

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Hurricane Matthew death toll hits 140 as storm is upgraded to Category 4 with winds of 140mph

A total of 136 people are now dead in Haiti with the storm now hitting 140mph as it approaches Florida.

Hurricane Matthew has claimed the lives of 140 people as officials upgrade the storm to Category 4 level.

A total of 136 people are now dead in Haiti with the storm now hitting 140mph as it approaches Florida.

Most of the victims were killed by falling trees, flying debris and swollen rivers.

Apocalyptic scenes are playing out in cities and towns in the path of Hurricane Matthew - which could affect more than 12 million Americans - as people who are staying put stock up on food and other supplies.

Supermarket shelves have been cleared of almost every item, meaning there could be dire consequences for those who haven't already purchased enough goods to get them through a potentially catastrophic storm and uncertain aftermath.

Those who have decided to flee to safer ground - or need fuel to run generators if and when the power goes out - are facing long queues at petrol stations as the state faces what could be its biggest evacuation ever.

Hurricane Matthew sparks apocalyptic scenes in supermarkets as panicked shoppers stock up food and water

Personal items are set out to dry as homeowners cull through the debris of their homes destroyed by Hurricane Matthew in Les Cayes                                                  Personal items are set out to dry as homeowners cull through the debris of their homes destroyed by Hurricane Matthew / AP                                                                                     

A man salvages personal items from his home destroyed by Hurricane Matthew in Les Cayes, Haiti                                                            A man salvages personal items from his home after it was destroyed  / AP                                                                                                              

Hurricane Matthew                                                       Hurricane Matthew has now been upgraded to a Category 4 storm / CNN Weather

There was also a rush to purchase planks of wood to cover windows and doors at homes and businesses as Florida - currently in a state of emergency - prepares for what may be the strongest hurricane in the past ten years.

The US National Hurricane Center said the storm's eye is expected to move very close to the east coast of the Florida peninsula Thursday night through Friday night, bringing 125mph winds with gusts that are even more powerful.

Victor Farah and her daughter sit in the ruins of their home destroyed by Hurricane Matthew                                                          At least 102 people have now been killed as the storm approaches Florida / AP

                                              People who haven't stocked up yet are finding empty shelves in US supermarkets / Getty

                                                           Those who are staying were told to have enough supplies to last at least three days / Getty

It could make direct landfall as it moves up the coastline.

In addition to winds, a dangerous storm surge, large and destructive waves and inland flooding are major concerns in Florida.

                                                            People line up to fill their propane gas cylinders / REUTERS

                                                             There were long queues at petrol stations / Getty

                                                Hurricane Matthew is seen moving through the Bahamas / Reuters

Parts of the eastern coast could see a storm surge of up to 9ft.

Surge-related flooding depends on the timings of the surge and tidal cycle, said forecasters.

The NHC said: "There is a danger of life- threatening inundation during the next 36 hours along the Florida east coast and Georgia coast from Deerfield Beach to Altamaha Sound."

Local officials advised residents to store food and water for at least three days, and fill up their vehicles.

                                                           Workers board up a restaurant / Getty

                                                            A boarded-up International House of Pancakes / Getty

Those who are not leaving started to snap up necessary goods in shops and supermarkets several days ago.

One storm-weary resident said: "We're used to it. So you just do it in the time and manner, and then you'll be OK."

Another resident said this kind of hurricane is not common and Matthew is not so worrisome compared to Andrew, a deadly hurricane that hit Florida in 1992.

                                               A motel in North Carolina displays a sign asking Hurricane Matthew to stay away / Getty

They said: "We haven't had one for years now. I've been through Andrew. That's worse."

President Barack Obama cancelled his visit to Florida which was scheduled for Wednesday.

He met with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to discuss preparations and a response to any disaster.

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Cuba Recovers and Remains Alert as a Result of Matthew

Havana, Oct 6 (Prensa Latina) The eastern region of Cuban is making progress today in the recovery phase after the devastation of powerful Hurricane Matthew, while the country''s northern coast is on alert to heavy rainfall, winds and a possible sea surge.

According to reports from national television, damage is still to be quantified and communication restored in the areas affected by the hurricane, mainly in the municipalities of Baracoa, Imías and Maisi in Guantanamo, the province most-hit by the hurricane.

Authorities from the Civil Defense National Staff explained that the damage in the province includes total and partial collapses of buildings, blocked roads due to landslides, fallen trees and downed power lines.

Mathew hit Baracoa hard for 10 hours, damaging 90 percent of homes and blocking parts of La Farola viaduct, the main road to the city.

The effects of the cyclonic system on the northern coast of the country's central and eastern region continue today. Matthew is moving northwest at a speed of 19 mph and was located 200 kilometers from the municipality Nuevitas in Camaguey province at 18:00 local time yesterday.

According to the forecasts of the Institute of Meteorology, heavy seas in the northern coast would continue in the following hours from Camagüey to Guantanamo, with waves as high as three to five meters and with light to moderate coastal flooding.

Despite the rains, the total capacity of dams on Cuban territory are at 53.9 percent, executives of the National Institute of Hydraulic Resources said on the daily television program Roundtable .

The eye of Hurricane Matthew hit Cuba near Punta Caleta, Guantanamo, at six o'clock on Tuesday afternoon. It was in this Caribbean territory approximately five hours before crossing to Bahia de Mata near midnight.

UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, praised the preparations and efforts of the authorities, the press and Cuban civil organizations in face of the ravages of the category four hurricane.

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