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More than 300 people have been killed in Haiti by Hurricane Matthew, the Haitian government has said.
The country has been left reeling from the devastation caused by the category 4 storm which saw 230km/h winds tear across the Caribbean nation on Tuesday.
At least 350,000 people are in need of assistance, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. More than 30,000 homes were destroyed in one province alone, leaving the families who lived in them at the mercy of the elements.
Senator Herve Fourcand announced the preliminary death toll last night amid varying accounts, though it is expected that that figure may yet increase.
Haiti is one of the poorest nations in the world, with many of its city dwelling inhabitants living in shantytowns not built to withstand severe weather. The country has not yet fully rebuilt after the 2010 earthquake, which killed 316,000 people, and displaced more than 1.5 million.
Suzy DeFrancis, a spokesperson for the American Red Cross, said that the loss of power and phone networks are likely to impede efforts to help those worst affected, but that the greatest concern is cholera, which has been rife since the 2010 disaster.
The Red Cross have launched an appeal to raise $6.9m, “to provide medical, shelter, water and sanitation assistance to 50,000 people”
Hurricane Matthew, now downgraded to a category 3 storm, is expected to hit the US coastline at around 8am EST (1pm GMT). More than 2 million people have been evacuated.