Les Anglais, Haiti braced itself for Hurricane Matthew’s landfall around 7 a.m. Tuesday morning (Oct. 4), Mic reports. Winds are gusting at nearly 145 miles per hour, and up to 40 inches of rain could fall upon the country.
Authorities have requested families to seek shelter in churches or schools due to the weak infrastructure of their homes against the powerful storm.
“We are looking at a dangerous hurricane that is heading into the vicinity of western Haiti and eastern Cuba,” said senior hurricane specialist with the National Hurricane Center, Richard Pasch, per the Associated Press. “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.”
Three people have died since the hurricane’s Category 4 ranking — two fishermen in Haiti, and a teenager in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Maria Alta Jean-Baptiste, director of Haiti’s Civil Protection Agency, told the AP that, “It’s much too early to know how bad things are but we do know there are a lot of houses that have been destroyed or damaged in the south.”
Haiti is still getting its bearings after 2010’s devastating 7.0 magnitude earthquake, and most recently, they’re fighting against the cholera endemic. The New York Times states deaths from the infection exceeds 9,000 since its outbreak six years ago. With Hurricane Matthew, the disease can only get worse, John Hasse, World Vision’s national director in Haiti said to CNN. “Other mosquito-borne diseases that have been more or less controlled are going to rear their heads.”