By Maxwell Adeyemi Adeleye
The Civil Protection Directorate (DPC) has put the official death toll in Haiti from Hurricane Matthew to 372.
The DPC on Tuesday in Port-au-Prince, during its updated assessment of the damage, said that four people were still missing and 246 others sustained injuries.
“Some 175,509 people who were left homeless are being housed in 224 temporary shelters.
“Haiti’s southernmost departments of Grande Anse and the South were the worst hit, with 198 and 78 fatalities, respectively,’’ it said.
Unofficial figures put the death toll at more than 800.
Meanwhile, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) said it WAs scaling up its emergency response to help more than 350,000 people in need of immediate humanitarian help.
UNFPA’s Executive Director, Babatunde Osotimehin, said that special focus would be on more than 8,400 women who are expected to give birth in the next three months.
He noted that the hurricane had ravaged Haiti’s health infrastructure.
Osotimehin said that Hurricane Matthew dealt a severe blow on Haiti’s health facilities, whether by flooding these centres or blowing off their roofs and putting them out of service.
He said that to counter the lack of medical services, Cuba and Venezuela were sending more doctors to the island.
Osotimehin disclosed that Cuba, which already has some 600 doctors working there, had sent an additional team of 38 physicians with experience in handling post-disaster problems.
He said that officials had been concerned about a resurgence of cholera, which has already killed thousands in Haiti since an outbreak following the devastating 2010 earthquake that leveled much of Port-au-Prince.
Meanwhile, Jorge Arreaza, Venezuelan Vice President for Social Development, on Monday presided over the shipment of another 20 tons of humanitarian aid, mainly medicine, to the battered island nation, and said an initial brigade of 40 doctors would also be heading to Haiti.
A report said from last Wednesday, Venezuela sent in 450 tons of machinery to help clear away rubbles from streets and roadways, as well as hundreds of tons of food, water, tents, blankets and other basic needs.
A report on the situation in Grande Anse by Food For The Poor, a Non-governmental Organisation (NGO), found that “towns and villages along the coast are completely devastated”.
It added that animal and plant production had been completely devastated.
The NGO warned of a “food shortage that would last at least six months,” and said the government needed to import materials and seeds to get farms up and running again.