Haiti After the Hurricane: Situation 'Catastrophic'
More than 100 are reported dead after Matthew barreled its way through
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 6, 2016 12:37 PM CDT
Girls hold hands as they help each other wade through a flooded street after the passing of Hurricane Matthew in Les Cayes, Haiti, on Thursday.   (AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery)
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(Newser) – As Florida and the rest of the East Coast are bracing for Hurricane Matthew, Haiti is starting to dig out from the storm's devastation. Officials from the island nation reported Thursday that at least 108 are dead so far, with that number expected to rise and "catastrophic" damage sustained, reports the Miami Herald. More than 28,000 homes have been damaged (with more expected to be reported), and the nation's Office of Civil Protection notes more than 21,000 people are still holed up in shelters. "The situation is critical," President Jocelerme Privert said. Haiti's southern peninsula appears to have taken the brunt of the storm, with reports of scarce food supplies, destroyed banana crops, no phones or electricity, and a "demoralized" populace.

"Everybody's house is destroyed, the people can't eat and have to drink coconut water to sustain them," a local legislator says. The BBC reports that the southwestern town of Jeremie was "pretty much wiped out" and has been cut off from communications with the rest of the world, per a Port-au-Prince radio host. A pilot who flew overhead reported that only about 1% of the homes were left standing, a Connecticut-based Haitian NGO tells ABC News. "Haiti is facing the largest humanitarian event witnessed since the earthquake six years ago," a spokesperson for the UN secretary-general said in a statement. Meanwhile, the Weather Channel says the storm, currently a Category 4 weather force, could remain at that level or even escalate to a rare Category 5 before it hits Florida's coast later Thursday. (CNN has posted 12 more photos that capture the destruction in Haiti.)