By Eric Preisler
On Monday, Oct. 3, and Tuesday, Oct. 4, Hurricane Matthew, a Category 4 hurricane, swept through Haiti and left the island nation in devastation.
So far, at least 546 people have been reported dead, while tens of thousands of homes were damaged or destroyed, according to ABC News.
“In the worst-hit departments, many towns have been virtually wiped out,” said Stephen O’Brien, United Nations (UN) Emergency Relief Coordinator, according to CNN. “Families that were fortunate to survive the hurricane now find themselves in a struggle to survive, with thousands of homes and livelihoods washed away by the storm.”
To add to the severity of Haiti’s current state, at least 200 cases of cholera have been reported by the World Health Organization, which is planning to send 1 million vaccines there by the end of the week, The Guardian reported. The same source said this is a result of flooding wells, rivers and latrines, which contaminated the drinking water.
To date, there have been over 470,00 cases of cholera reported in Haiti and 6,631 deaths, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
“There will be many more cases of cholera, and unnecessary deaths, all across areas affected by the hurricane if large-scale cholera treatment and prevention response doesn’t reach them immediately,” said Conor Shapiro, president and CEO of the St Boniface Haiti Foundation, The Guardian reported.
According to BBC, only 5 percent of the $120 million asked for in an appeal has been raised. The same news outlet reported there has also been turmoil over looters taking from the scarce supplies.
Carlos Veloso of the UN’s World Food Programme revealed the desperation of many Haitians.
“Many people I have met are surviving by eating fruit from fallen trees,” Veloso said, according to BBC.
Fox News reported that livestock and a majority of crops were destroyed in the storm.
“It will take at least 10 years for nature to do what it needs to do to grow the trees back,” said Elancie Moise, an agronomist in Haiti, according to Salon.
In the face of devastation, several organizations, such as the Hope for Haiti, the Haitian Health Foundation and Save the Children, have become dedicated to providing food, money and medical assistance to people of the region.