Haiti: millions threatened by hurricane Matthew
Hurricane Matthew, which has made landfall on the south-western tip of Haiti and is expected to reach Cuba on Tuesday evening, could affect millions of people, according to the United Nations. The Haitian government has appealed to the international community for help. Already present in the field, Handicap International’s teams have been mobilised and plan to launch an emergency response based on the needs identified.
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Hurricane Matthew, ranked at Category 4 of the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale of hurricane intensity, has made landfall on the south-western tip of Haiti, bringing 233 km/h winds. Water surges and rainfall, with up to one metre possible in some areas, risk causing potentially deadly flooding and landslides and could affect 5 million people, according to the United Nations.
More than 300,000 people 1 may need immediate assistance. More than 1,200 people are currently displaced in temporary shelters in the towns of Cayes and Jeremie. Coastal flooding was recorded in 11 municipalities in the Grand Anse, Nippes and Sud departments. The hurricane will reach Mole Saint Nicolas (north-western coast of Haiti) and the southern coast of Cuba on Tuesday night.
The Government of Haiti is calling for assistance from non-governmental organisations and other humanitarian actors.
“We are preparing to deal with a major disaster. Already present in Haiti, our teams are getting ready to assess the scale of the disaster and plan to launch an emergency response in aid of the affected populations, based on the needs identified,”
Jean-François Michel, head of Handicap International’s operations in Haiti.
In Cuba, the provinces of Camaguey, Las Tunas, Holguin, Granma, Santiago de Cuba and Guantanamo have been placed on high alert. An emergency plan has been set in motion in Cuba and more than 900,000 people are currently being evacuated.
Handicap International in Haiti and Cuba
Handicap International has been present in Cuba (province of Pinar del Rio, province of Granma, Santiago de Cuba, Baracoa and Guantanamo) since 1998 and Haiti (region of Port-au-Prince, department of Nippes, municipality of Delmas, municipality of Carrefour, and the departments of Artibonite and Nord) since 2008. In Haiti, Handicap International provided support to tens of thousands of victims of the earthquake of January 2010.
 According to the UN.