LES CAYES, Haiti — A hospital now a shambles, its floors swamped with garbage and water, absent electricity. People living in the streets, camped in front of their broken homes. Buildings smashed into splinters. Farm fields flattened, portending a hard year ahead.
“For me, Roche-à-Bateau is not a place to live anymore,” said Warens Jeanty, 26, a tourism operator surveying the beach towns and picturesque port hamlets that dot Haiti’s coast. “People have nowhere to stay.”
As Haiti picks through the detritus left by Hurricane Matthew, more bodies are turning up every hour. Some estimates said that more than 800 people had died in the storm, more than double what the government has reported, though it acknowledged that the toll was unknown. In one part of the country’s southern peninsula, nearly 30,000 homes were destroyed and 150 lives lost, officials said.
And a full accounting of damage has not even started.
“I had never seen anything like this,” said Marie Yolene Gateau, a retired New York City guidance counselor who lives in Leogane, Haiti, a town that was largely flattened in the 2010 earthquake. Now the storm has wiped out most of the region’s sugar crop, bananas and mangoes, she said. “The hurricane was attacking the trees. I watched thinking, ‘When is it going to stop?’ ”
Passage to many areas remained blocked, thwarting efforts to assess the destruction and to help survivors. A single remote village reported 82 dead on Friday, while others said they were waiting to account for dozens of missing people. The government, which requires visual proof to count a death in its toll, could hardly keep up with the accounts of loss stitched together from hospitals. more