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Haiti, On Hurricane Matthew's Ugly Side, Could Get 'Hit Bad'

Hurricane Matthew is making its way through the Caribbean packing Category-4 winds of more than 150 miles per hour and dropping up to 40 inches of rain. Haiti is in its path - and.that’s the country that can least absorb the damage.

Hurricane Matthew is projected to roar over just the western edge of Haiti. But the impoverished country will be on the storm’s right side – where the most powerful winds are. That means the rest of Haiti could also be badly damaged.

“The country’s quite aware that we’re going to be hit bad," says Serge Klang, an anchorman for Haiti's MetroNews in the capital, Port-au-Prince. "Maybe worse, the level of the sea may rise between three and ten feet. And cities like Aux Cayes will be completely flooded.”

In South Florida, Haitian-Americans have already started coordinating relief efforts. Community leaders are working with groups like the Man Dodo Humanitarian Foundation to collect aid this week in Miami Gardens and other Haitian-American enclaves.

“We don’t want to wait until the hurricane actually hits land before we start putting an action plan into place," says Haitian-American community activist Sandy Dorsainvil. "So we’ve basically pulled together about 20 or 30 Haitian-American organizations to just pull everyone’s resources together.”

Haiti is still recovering from a catastrophic 2010 earthquake as well as a cholera epidemic. It’s supposed to hold a presidential election this Sunday. But political observers like Klang say the hurricane damage may well force the government to postpone it.

Tim Padgett is the Americas Editor for WLRN, covering Latin America, the Caribbean and their key relationship with South Florida. Contact Tim at tpadgett@wlrnnews.org
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