Homes have been destroyed and damaged by Hurricane Matthew across the island
The death toll from Hurricane Matthew has risen to over 1,000 on the Caribbean island of Haiti alone, with the dead being buried in mass graves amid fears of a cholera epidemic.
The poorest island in the Americas has a population of around 10 million, but the aftermath of the storm has made water unsafe for human consumption, leaving many in desperation.
A Reuters tally of numbers from local officials has reported that 1,000 people were killed by the storm in Haiti, although the official death toll from the central civil protection agency is 336, a slower count because officials must visit each village to confirm the numbers.
The most powerful Atlantic storm since 2007 brought 145 mile-per-hour winds when it hit the island on Tuesday, with its torrential rains that left 1.4 million people in need of humanitarian assistance, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said.
On Sunday, authorities had to start burying the dead in mass graves in Jeremie because the bodies were starting to decompose, said Kedner Frenel, the most senior central government official in the Grand’Anse region on Haiti’s western peninsula.
Men repair a damaged house after the hurricane as devastation reaches across the land The official death figures will not be released until each are has been accounted for
Frenel said 522 people were killed in Grand’Anse alone.
A tally of deaths reported by mayors from 15 of 18 municipalities in Sud Department on the south side of the peninsula showed 386 people there. In the rest of the country, 92 people were killed, the same tally showed.
Frenel said there was great concern about cholera spreading, and that authorities were focused on getting water, food and medication to the thousands of people living in shelters.
A man washes his clothes in front of his destroyed home after Hurricane Matthew passed Jeremie Barcroft The clean-up has continued in Jeremie during Haiti’s three days of mourning
Cholera causes severe diarrhoea and can kill within hours if untreated. It is spread through contaminated water and has a short incubation period, which leads to rapid outbreaks.
Government teams fanned out across the hard-hit southwestern tip of the country over the weekend to repair treatment centers and reach the epicenter of one outbreak.
The country has undertaken three days of mourning after the crisis, with the international response to the devastation on Haiti finally beginning in earnest.
A man stands in his destroyed house in Deson, near Les Cayes in southwest Hait Tens of thousands of homes were destroyed by the hurricane, path shown here in Port Salut
Locals packed onto the coast over the weekend as they waited desperately for a 50-tonne barge from charity Mission of Hope, laden with essential food, water and medical supplies, to arrive.
The one usable airstrip in the country is too small for big cargo planes and can only operate during daytime.
Matthew, which hit Haiti as a Category Four hurricane last Tuesday, was downgraded to a ‘post-tropical cyclone’ yesterday soon after it struck the US mainland for the first time.
Charities have launched an urgent appeal for food, water and medical supplies A woman tries to get food at a shelter in the school Liliane Mars Dumarsais Estime after Hurricane Matthew
It whipped into North Carolina and Virginia with a diminished yet still powerful punch, causing flooding and widespread power outages.
Residents of the southeastern United States have also turned their attentions to recovery and clean-up,amid fears that deadly flooding could continue as rain swollen rivers crest in coming days.
Hurricane Matthew victims in Haiti dig out of devastation:
In the United States, the death toll rose to at least 19 people.
While power was being restored in some areas, 1.6 million people were without power in Florida, Georgia, North and South Carolina and Virginia, down Sunday’s peak of 2.2 million.
The National Weather Service said "life-threatening flooding," will continue Monday over eastern portions of the North Carolina.