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British Red Cross launches Hurricane Matthew appeal

HURRICANE MATTHEW: Water and electricity supplies have been cut off and medical services are no longer functioning

BRITISH RED Cross has launched a Hurricane Matthew emergency appeal in response to the devastation wrecked by the category-four storm.

More than one million people have been affected by the hurricane – 350,000 people in Haiti alone are in need of aid. Red Cross teams in the town of Jeremie, one of the worst affected areas in Haiti, have reported massive destruction. Water and electricity supplies have been cut off and medical services are no longer functioning. Currently the town is only accessible by helicopter. Other remote areas have yet to be reached.

David Foster, from the British Red Cross emergencies team, said: “The extraordinary damage and loss of life inflicted by Hurricane Matthew is slowly becoming clear.

“Roads, bridges and communication lines have been wiped out in Haiti, which has made access to affected communities very difficult. Widespread flooding means there is the potential for waterborne diseases, while we are also concerned about life-threatening mudslides. There is a desperate need for emergency shelter, clean drinking water, sanitation facilities, food and health services.”

“Our colleagues at the Haiti Red Cross have been instrumental in preparing communities for the storm and they now need our support in the emergency relief effort.”

There are also concerns about Tropical Storm Nicole, which is following a similar path to Hurricane Matthew. The International Federation of the Red Cross is closely monitoring the path and strength of the storm. Red Cross teams based out of Panama are preparing emergency stocks and aid workers in case the storms converge to form a more destructive hurricane.

The American Red Cross opened 84 shelters on Wednesday night and more are anticipated as the storm approaches. Five hundred disaster workers and 90 response vehicles are on standby. Thirty trailer-loads of shelter supplies, ready-to-eat meals and emergency aid are also in place.

More than one million people were evacuated in Cuba, and the town of Baracoa has seen 90 per cent damage to buildings. Areas of the Bahamas have also seen power outages and damage to roads and housing. In the Les Cayes region of Haiti, there are concerns for food supplies and around 80 per cent of the harvest is estimated to the lost in some areas.

To donate to the British Red Cross Hurricane Matthew appeal go to: - Phone donations: 0300 456 4999 and postal donations: The Hurricane Matthew Appeal, 44 Moorfields, London EC2Y 9AL

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