Death toll in Haiti from Hurricane Matthew rises to 108
PORT AU PRINCE - The National Emergency Operations Centre (COUN) in Haiti on Thursday morning updated the provisional death toll from Hurricane Matthew to 108.
However, minister of interior and territorial communities, François Anick Joseph, said the number of victims is still very tentative as information is still coming in from the southwestern part of the country, which had been cut off from the capital Port au Prince.
Meanwhile, humanitarian aid from various countries began to arrive in Haiti as soon as the airports had reopened.
Venezuela sent 20 tons of emergency supplies, including nonperishable food, water, blankets, sheets and medicines.
On Wednesday, the US Agency for International Development (USAID) announced an additional $1 million in humanitarian assistance for communities in Haiti affected by Hurricane Matthew. This brings total USAID humanitarian assistance for regional hurricane relief efforts to $1.5 million.
This additional amount will help provide food vouchers, food rations, cash transfers, and meals at evacuation shelters. It will also allow the agency's network of humanitarian partners in Haiti to scale up relief operations. USAID is also providing $500,000 to international partners in Haiti to provide logistics support and distribute critical relief supplies, including safe drinking water, hygiene kits, emergency shelter materials, blankets, and household goods.
This new funding comes a day after USAID activated a Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) in the central Caribbean. The DART, an elite team of disaster experts, has deployed to Haiti, Jamaica, and The Bahamas, where they are coordinating with governments of the affected countries and humanitarian organizations on the ground to bring vital humanitarian assistance and logistics support to communities in need.
In addition to deploying staff throughout the region, USAID has also pre-positioned relief supplies and is gearing up to airlift additional needed supplies from its warehouse in Miami (Florida), for assist victims of Matthew.
European authorities, in cooperation with the international community, also deployed risk management tools to assist populations affected in several departments of Haiti.
The European Union (EU), through its Directorate General for Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (ECHO), has immediately allocated a first allocation of 255,000 euros to assist the worst affected victims. A team of three EU humanitarian experts is deployed on the ground to assess the most urgent needs.
At the request of the Haitian government and in coordination with member states, the European Union activated the EU Civil Protection Mechanism, in order to mobilize additional means of intervention.
Vincent Degert, Ambassador of the European Union in Haiti, said, "The European Union expresses its solidarity with the people confronted with this particularly violent disaster. Besides, a first financial assistance to provide, through the International Federation of the Red Cross, health services, water and emergency shelters in the worst affected areas, the European Union and its Member States, will deploy in the coming days, civil defense resources to provide, according to the needs, support to the most affected populations."
A report on the situation by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), citing information from Haitian Civil Protection, indicates that 350,000 men, women and children in Haiti need assistance. OCHA said floods had been reported in 11 communities in the south of Haiti, while the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has issued warnings about the fate of 55,000 displaced persons still living in temporary shelters in and around the capital