Hurricane Matthew slams into Haiti: death toll to rise

THE death toll from the most powerful Atlantic tropical storm in almost a decade, which slammed into Haiti, is expected to rise.

NBC reported the Hurricane Matthew flooded streets, flattened homes, topped trees, swept away livestock, leaving a trail of destruction in its wake.

A key bridge in the town of Petit-Goâve, on the highway that links Haiti's hardest hit southwestern peninsula region to the capital Port-au-Prince, collapsed and several people were reportedly "swept away," NBC News reported.

So far, Haiti's civil protection agency has reported just two deaths - including a fisherman who drowned in rough water churned up by the storm.

Eight deaths in all have been blamed on the storm: One man died in Colombia, four people were killed in the Dominican Republic, and a teen was killed in St. Vincent and the Grenadines as the storm moved through the Caribbean.

But officials fear the death toll could rise - especially in and around the southern town of Les Cayes, which absorbed the first blow from Matthew and where hundreds were hunkering down in homes without electricity and without roofs.

The storm was a staggering blow to the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere and officials feared Haiti would be forced to contend with yet another devastating humanitarian disaster.

Weather Channel meteorologist Kevin Roth warned that Matthew could swamp Haiti's low-lying areas with up to 20 inches of rain and dump up to 40 inches in the mountains.

Matthew made landfall in Haiti just after 7 a.m. Tuesday as a category 4 storm with maximum sustained winds of 145 mph, the Weather Channel reported.

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