hurricane-matthew-9The huge scale of damage inflicted by Hurricane Matthew is becoming clear. Of the countries hit by the category-four storm, Haiti is the worst affected.

The country’s south-west peninsula bore the brunt of last week’s hurricane with some areas still only accessible by air and sea.

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Jethro Sereme, a Red Cross worker in southern Haiti, said: “In some places it’s like the apocalypse. In Camp Perrin, a very beautiful place before, nothing has been spared.

“Ninety per cent of trees have fallen down, roads are blocked and the cathedral has collapsed.

“Until now we’ve had no contact with the town of Maniche. All of the roads are blocked. It’s the same situation for a lot of coastal communities in the south.”

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More than two million people have been affected in Haiti and an estimated 1.4 million are in need of urgent help.

The unofficial death toll has now climbed above 1,000.

Rural clinics are struggling to cope with the volume of people in need of medical attention.

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“People really need clean water, food and shelter. You can see the desolation in their faces – they don’t know where help is going to come from,” said Jethro.

“In Les Cayes, there have been hundreds of deaths, injuries and a lot of people are missing. Thousands are without shelter and waiting for help.”

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More than 60,000 people are in temporary shelters and 2,000 children have been separated from their parents.

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There is a food shortage in Les Cayes, where three quarters of houses have been damaged.

In Jeremie, 30,000 people are without water and up to 80 per cent of houses have been destroyed.

There has been major damage to water distribution infrastructure in both towns, raising fears of a widespread cholera outbreak.

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Cholera, a bacterial infection spread through contaminated food and water, has already claimed at least 13 lives in Haiti since the hurricane.

Water sources have been contaminated with sewage due to flooding, so conditions are ripe for cholera.

“People have resorted to drinking river water as they don’t have any alternative,” said Jethro.

“We’re telling people about the importance of good hygiene and the dangers of waterborne diseases such as cholera, but we’re very worried about a big cholera epidemic if nothing is done now.”

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Vegetation has been obliterated, with reports that up to 100 per cent of crops have been lost in parts of the south west.

“Farmers had been getting ready for the harvest, so we’re going to see acute food shortages for quite some time,” said David Foster, from the British Red Cross emergencies team.

“Red Cross teams on the ground are slowly reaching communities that have been cut off for days.

“The most pressing concern for us is ensuring that people have shelter, food, medical care and, crucially, clean water.”

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Hurricane Matthew also hit the Dominican Republic, Cuba and the Bahamas, before sweeping up the east coast of the US.

The storm has caused extensive damage across the region with more than 1.3 million people evacuating their homes.