Over 800 Killed in Haiti after Hurricane Matthew Devastates an Already Poor Infrastructure
Kanako Itamae and Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
The death toll in Haiti is continuing to climb with latest figures stressing at least 800 people have perished. Sadly, the likelihood is that this figure may rise further once the full implications of Hurricane Matthew are known. Therefore, international assistance is urgently needed despite many past failings of the United Nations (UN) in this country.
Rescue teams are now working around the clock and trying to gain full access to areas in the south that were cut off after Hurricane Matthew struck. Indeed, the isolation of some remote areas is a further reminder that the final death toll will surely increase. Similarly, the need to help people recover and build up an already fragile economy means that the road ahead is very difficult for the most vulnerable in society.
The brute force of nature especially hit southwestern coastal areas. This reality means that certain parts of this region are only accessible by air and sea. Therefore, search and rescue operations are battling against remoteness, an already poor infrastructure, and the ticking clock.
According to the government of Haiti, at least 350,000 people need immediate support based on many areas being flattened. Once more, this figure may increase because it will take four to five days before the real impact is fully known. However, what is certain is that the international community must respond with speed to help a nation blighted by poverty, political corruption, the ineptitude of aid agencies (UN brought cholera to Haiti that killed thousands of innocents), a limited infrastructure, and other negativities.
The BBC says, “The storm passed directly through the Tiburon peninsula – encompassing Haiti’s entire southern coast – driving the sea inland and flattening homes with winds of up to 230km/h (145mph) and torrential rain.”
Not surprisingly, power lines are down in the hardest hit areas and in remote areas the telecommunication system is weak. This reality means that it is imperative that great emphasis is put on reaching remote areas cut off. If not, the death toll will further increase dramatically because many injured people need immediate assistance.
The BBC further reports, “Haiti – one of the world’s poorest countries – has never fully recovered from the earthquake that killed thousands of people in 2010 and a cholera epidemic that followed.”
In the past, it appears that vast economic assistance was squandered and the same applies to the UN being responsible for the devastating cholera epidemic. Therefore, it is imperative that a fresh impetus is put into place once the devastation of Hurricane Matthew is fully under control.
Modern Tokyo News is part of the Modern Tokyo Times group
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