Joshua Meribole- Staff Writer
The winds moved furiously, and the skies spat rain in unquantifiable numbers. From Sept. 25 through Oct. 12, Hurricane Matthew greeted the people of Haiti, the Bahamas, Colombia, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and the United States with death and destruction. The hurricane ranged from a Category 3 to Category 5, causing a loss of over 1000 lives and billions of dollars in damage.
According to weather.com, Hurricane Matthew grew in size from the East to the West of the Atlantic. Matthew hit the Caribbean with a Category 5 and wind speed of 160 mph. It attacked Haiti and Cuba on Oct. 4 as a Category 4. After desolating parts of Haiti, it moved over to the Bahamas, reducing to a Category 3 and settling there to cause havoc from Oct. 5-6. It then moved to Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina.
Haiti was the worst country affected, with at least 1000 deaths recorded. Jeremie, a city of 31,000, lost over 80 percent of its infrastructure. The Red Cross estimates that 1 million people are affected.
“Unfortunately, once again, nature has unleashed her fury, and Haiti has lived through what I can characterize as three days of terror,” said Michel Martelly, the president of Haiti.
Carmine Luc described the intensity of the storm, “It was as if someone had a remote control and just kept turning the wind up higher and higher.”
“My arms are empty,” said Kimberly Janvier to Reuter News, regarding what she was left with after Matthew.
Along with 1 billion dollars’ worth of destruction, the murderous storm caused the possible pollution of drinkable water. The UN and other health agencies expressed concern of a possible cholera outbreak in Haiti.
In the US, Hurricane Matthew ravaged from the Carolinas to Georgia and Florida, bringing death to at least 43 people.
North Carolina suffered the most destruction, carrying the largest death toll of 26 as recorded on Saturday. The storm left 760,000 people without power, and it turned roads into rivers. 100,000 houses, businesses and government buildings totaled about 1.5 billion dollars in damages.
Matthew, according to the National Hurricane Center, is said have brought about a “record-breaking flood.”
In the north of the hurricane’s reach, South Carolina suffered from flooding, and 430,000 of its homes were left in the dark.
“We knew that a flood was coming,” South Carolina resident Darlene Kelly said. “It’s just a matter of dealing with it now.”
The hurricane also created a nine-foot wave that brought about destruction.
“What I am going to ask from you is patience,” governor Nikki Haley told news agencies. “Most injuries, most fatalities, occur after a storm because people attempt to move in too soon.”
Georgia lost three citizens to floods brought by the storm, and 370,000 others lost power.
“I’m homeless,” storm victim Valeria said. “I’ve got nine kids, but I couldn’t evacuate with them.”
Florida suffered the least damage of the affected states.
“The first thing we can say is we are all blessed that Matthew stayed off our coast,” Florida governor Rick Scott said.
Santo Domingo lost four of its residents due to the hurricane. The wind drove straight through the country, reaching 145 miles an hour, and damaged around 200 homes.
In Colombia, Matthew brought one death and flooding in the La Guajira peninsula. The damage done was not substantial and soon allowed residents to move back to their homes.
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, a country of just over 100,000 inhabitants, survived the hurricane with the recorded death of one secondary school student. Hurricane Matthew left nearly half of the country’s population without electricity.
According to Reuters reporter Sarah Marsh, there were no citizen deaths because of prior evacuation. Most Cubans praised the government’s evacuation plans and strategies.
However, in the city of Baracoa, which was leveled by Hurricane Matthew, people are calling for the government to do more. Sara Moceo, 57, whose house was demolished, says, “We have to fight for food.”
Hurricane Matthew reached the Bahamas with 140 mph winds. Trees blew onto their sides, and the storm took out electricity. In a report by CBS News, the people of the Bahamas appeared grateful for reduced damage and said that it could have been worse.
From country to country, Hurricane Matthew brought about over 5.2 billion dollars of destruction and took more than 1000 lives. The distraught communities affected by the storm are still in need of aid.