Hurricane Matthew has made landfall in western Haiti packing winds of up to 145 miles per hour
The National Hurricane Centre (NHC) in Miami said the eye of the Category 4 hurricane made landfall around 7:00 a.m. near Les Anglais, Haiti.
“They are getting everything a major hurricane can throw at them,” Dennis Feltgen, a meteorologist and spokesman for the NHC said.
Haiti’s Interim President Jocelerme Privert said a number of people have already been killed.
“We’ve already seen deaths. People who were out at sea. There are people who are missing. They are people who didn’t respect the alerts. They’ve lost their lives,” he said.
Haiti is one of the world’s poorest countries and many of its residents live in wooden or corrugated steel shacks in areas prone to flooding and Matthew is expected to dump 40 inches of rain in some areas.
Flooding is the biggest concern in Haiti, which is still struggling to fully recover more than six years after the 2010 earthquake that devastated the country. Thousands of people still live in tents after the quake.
The authorities have told people to stock up on food and water and many have been told to evacuate their homes, especially in the largest slum in Port-au-Prince, home to 150,000 residents.
Hurricane Matthew is the region’s most powerful since Felix in 2007.