Hurricane Matthew tore across Haiti on Wednesday killing an estimated 478 people as it skirts the east coast of Florida this morning.
Though the Atlantic storm remains a powerful and dangerous hurricane with winds of 105 miles-per-hour off the Florida coast, the depth of its wrath must have peaked earlier over Haiti, when winds were in excess of 120-miles-per-hour. While flooding, power-outages and down trees might be the most common effects of the storm on the United States(US) mainland, destruction is not expected to eclipse the damage in Haiti.
Entire towns have been battered on Haiti, where 80 percent of the structures in the town of Jeremie have been destroyed along with wood-splintering damage in the towns of Corail and Petit-Goave, where a major bridge was washed away isolating southern Haiti from the rest of the nation. The 478 deaths thus far reported by Reuters, quoting local officials, confirm the stark correlation between poverty and a high number of deaths during natural disaster events. Haiti has a GDP per capita of $1,800 compared to $15,000 for its neighbor, the Dominican Republic, according to 2015 figures published by the CIA World Fact Book.
Haiti - a nation rich with cultural history, has been economically impoverish for centuries and the blame for such has fallen upon successions of poor governments and leaderships, who have been known to pilfer the country's wealth.
Moreover, Haiti's unfortunate condition in 2016 has also come to wrought by a devastating earthquake on January 12, 2010, which killed some 316,000 people and wrecked billions of dollars worth in damage across the nation.
Today, 350,000 people are in need of assistance following the destruction from Hurricane Matthew and 61,500 people are in shelters following a preliminary assessment of storm damage. Unfortunately, more casualties and damages could possibly be found on Haiti as international relief efforts reach rural and cut off regions of the nation. Whatever else, Haiti's woes will remain for a long time.