350,000 Haitians in need in aftermath of Hurricane Matthew

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Brazilian Marines with the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) clearing the road to les Cayes, Haiti, after the passage of Hurricane Matthew. Photo: UN MINUSTAH.

An estimated 350,000 Haitians will need humanitarian assistance after Hurricane Matthew tore across the Caribbean island nation, according to the UN.

The head of the Humanitarian Office, OCHA, in the capital, Port-au-Prince, said weather conditions had prevented a thorough evaluation so far, but the damage had been extensive.

Matthew Wells reports.

According to news reports, at least 65 have been killed, with thousands displaced and thousands of homes destroyed by heavy winds, registering at 145 miles per hour.

Flooding and the collapse of communications networks, together with a key bridge, have left many areas of the country inaccessible.

Haiti's electoral council announced that presidential elections planned for Sunday would have to be postponed.

Enzo di Taranto is Head of Office for OCHA in Haiti, and on Thursday morning he said that there had been no word on conditions in the north-west of the island, which was struck hard by Matthew.

His words are spoken by an interpreter.

"Concerning the South however, we can confirm major damage across the territory, we have unclear and very preliminary numbers.  As of the night of October 5 we have an estimated 1.5 million affected people with 350.000 people in need of humanitarian assistance." 

He added that a specialized post-disaster evaluation team would go out into the field on Thursday, weather permitting, to make a full evaluation.

He said the UN Mission, MINUSTAH, would work with the government to establish two operation centres in Les Cayes and Jeremie.

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 1'08"

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