The EU will give an initial €255,000 in emergency humanitarian assistance to the victims of Hurricane Matthew in Haiti, the European Commission announced yesterday (6 October).
Overnight reports from the Caribbean island put the death toll there at now more than 300, including 50 dead in the Roche-a-Bateau alone.
The nearby city of Jeremie saw 80% of its buildings levelled. In Sud province 30,000 homes were destroyed.
Thursday’s announcement came before the death toll had reached so high.
Christos Stylianides, Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management said: “The EU stands in solidarity with all those affected by this natural disaster.
“The EU is already providing initial funding to help people in Haiti to provide temporary shelters, health services, safe drinking water and sanitation.
“Our EU Civil Protection Mechanism has also been activated. I thank all our Member States who have made offers of support so far.”
Those member states which have already pledged in-kind assistance and expert support are Denmark, Finland, France, Romania, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
The EU’s Copernicus emergency management service is also providing satellite maps to assess the damage.
Senator Herve Fourcand from southern Haiti told AFP that more than 300 people had died. An unnamed official quoted by Reuters news agency put the death toll at 339.
Hurricane Matthew is now approaching Florida, where US President Barack Obama has declared a state of emergency, as well as for the states of Georgia and South Carolina.
Haiti is particularly vulnerable to water-borne diseases, and is still recovering from the catastrophic earthquake of 2010, which killed up to 300,000 people.
Since 1994, the European Commission has granted €514.3 million in humanitarian aid to the Caribbean, of which €53 million has been allocated to help communities prepare and strengthen their resilience through Disaster Risk Reduction programmes.