Florida woman dies as hurricane blocks rescue
October 07 2016 06:29 PM
Hurricane
A motorist drives in heavy rain and wind in Atlantic Beach, Florida on Friday, as Hurricane Matthew approaches the area.

AFP/Miami

The United States marked its first known fatality from Hurricane Matthew as the Category 3 storm lashing the Florida coast claimed the life of a resident there, fire officials said on Friday.
A woman in her late 50s suffered a medical emergency in her home in central Florida's St. Lucie County, but high winds prevented fire officials from reaching her, a fire spokeswoman told AFP.
"We were unable to respond safely and unfortunately she died," said St. Lucie County Fire District spokeswoman Catherine Chaney.
The cause of death was cardiac arrest, Chaney added.
The powerful storm surged through the Caribbean earlier this week, at times as a powerful Category 5 storm, killing hundreds of people in Haiti and four in the Dominican Republic.

Death toll soars to 572 in Haiti

The number of people killed by Hurricane Matthew in Haiti rose to at least 572 on Friday, according to a Reuters tally, as information trickled in from remote areas that were cut off by the storm, officials said.
With fatalities rising quickly, different government agencies and committees differed on the total death toll. A Reuters count of deaths reported by civil protection and local officials confirmed 572 people had lost their lives.
Haiti's central civil protection agency, which takes longer to collate numbers, said 271 people died as Matthew smashed through the tip of Haiti's western peninsula on Tuesday with 145 mile-per-hour (233 kph) winds and torrential rain. Some 61,500 people were in shelters, the agency said.
The storm pushed the sea into fragile coastal villages, some of which are only now being contacted.
At least three towns reported dozens of fatalities, including the inland community of Chantal, whose deputy mayor said 90 people perished, without giving details. At least 89 more were missing, many of them in the Grand'Anse region area in southern Haiti.
Coastal town Les Anglais lost "several dozen" people, the central government representative in the region, Louis-Paul Raphael told Reuters.
Les Anglais was the first place in Haiti that Matthew reached, as a powerful Category 4 storm before it moved north, lost strength and lashed central Florida on Friday.
Hours before the hurricane landed in Haiti, Les Anglais' mayor told Reuters residents were fleeing for their lives as the ocean rushed into their homes.
With cellphone networks down and roads flooded by sea and river water, aid has been slow to reach towns and villages around the peninsula. Instead, locals have been helping each other.



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