Aid offers to Haiti were pouring in Friday, hours after the country’s civil defense authority reported that the provisional death toll from last week’s Hurricane Matthew had climbed to 546 people.
The World Food Programme (WFP), a United Nations agency, said in a statement it had provided emergency food rations to 30,000 people for the past six days, and has stocks ready to feed “up to 300,000 people for a month.”
“Many people I have met are surviving by eating fruit from fallen trees,” Carlos Veloso, a WFP representative in Haiti, said. “What we are bringing to their families is nutritious food to help them rebuild their lives,” he added.
In Berlin, a foreign ministry spokesman said Germany had increased emergency aid from 600,000 to 1.6 million euros (660,000 to 1.75 million dollars), while the Vatican said Pope Francis had donated 100,000 dollars.
Haiti’s Civil Protection Department said late Thursday that as well as 546 dead as a result of Hurricane Matthew, there were also 128 people missing, 439 injured and more than 175,500 who lost their homes.
Some media reports spoke of higher numbers of fatalities, while rescue workers in the affected areas told dpa that the number of victims is still likely to rise.
In addition, more than 500 people are now infected with cholera, with aid agencies now focusing on delivering fresh water and fixing sewage infrastructure.
Matthew struck Haiti on October 4, packing wind speeds of 230 kilometres per hour and causing extensive flooding, destroying homes, and uprooting trees, before moving on to hit five US states causing further fatalities.
According to the United Nations, 1.4 million people in the impoverished Caribbean nation are in urgent need of help.