BY Kristin Romey PUB The National Geographic [perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=”16″]As the category 4 storm barrels north across the Caribbean, photographs show the destruction in its wake.[/perfectpullquote]
Days after Hurricane Matthew pummeled Haiti with 145 mile-per-hour winds and drenching rain, local authorities say that the full scope of the disaster is still unclear. (See dramatic lightning sprites dance over Hurricane Matthew.)
What is already evident, however, is that the Category 4 hurricane, which struck Haiti on October 4, has leveled another blow of destruction on an island nation still reeling from the 2010 earthquake and a subsequent cholera crisis.
“Haiti was already struggling, so it doesn’t have a lot of capacity to respond to the hurricane,” says Andrew McConnell, a photojournalist who is on the scene. “Yet it may take the brunt of it.”
Haitian officials have reported more than one hundred deaths so far, yet little information has emerged from the southern department of Grand-Anse, near the point where Matthew made landfall. Communications in Grand-Anse have been knocked out, and roads in the area remain impassible, according to the Associated Press.
OFFICIALLY THE REPUBLIC OF HAITI
Haiti; Haitian Creole: Ayiti [ajiti]), officially the Republic of Haiti (French: République d’Haïti; Haitian Creole: Repiblik Ayiti), is a sovereign state in the Western Hemisphere (North America). The country is located on the island of Hispaniola, in the Greater Antilles archipelago of the Caribbean. It occupies the western three-eighths of the island, which it shares with the Dominican Republic. Haiti is 27,750 square kilometres (10,714 sq mi) in size and has an estimated 10.6 million people, making it the most populous country in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the second-most populous country in the Caribbean as a whole.
The region was originally inhabited by the indigenous Taíno people. Spain first discovered the island on 5 December 1492 during the first voyage of Christopher Columbus across the Atlantic. When Columbus initially landed in Haiti, he had thought he had found India or Asia. On Christmas Day 1492, Columbus’ flagship the Santa Maria, ran aground north of what is now Limonade. As a consequence, Columbus ordered his men to salvage what they could from the ship, and he created the first European settlement in the Americas, naming it La Navidad after the day the ship was destroyed.