The black Caribbean nation of Haiti is one of the hardest hit areas that has been in Hurricane Matthew’s path of destruction.
Marie Alta Jean-Baptiste, the director of Haiti’s Civil Protection Agency has said that the death toll may continue to rise in the coming days. Jean-Baptiste has spoken to media outlets and stated that government relief agencies are working hard to cover as many devastated areas as possible.
“We do know there’s a lot of damage in the Grand’Anse, and we also know human life has been lost there,” Jean-Baptiste said in a statement to the Associated Press.
Claudette Regis Delerme, the deputy mayor of the Haitian port city of Les Cayes in the nation’s department of Sud has said that the atmosphere there is very dire as well. “The situation in Les Cayes is catastrophic, the city is flooded, you have trees lying in different places and you can barely move around,” Delerme told Reuters.
Hurricane Matthew was once classified as a Category Four hurricane, which is most severe on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. In the past 24 hours, the official death toll in Haiti has more than doubled. On Thursday, various international and national media outlets reported that around 300 people were confirmed dead.
However, BBC News reported today that the death toll has soared above 800. Jeremie, a small Haitian town in the nation’s southwestern region felt the worst wrath of Hurricane Matthew. BBC reported that 80 percent of Jeremie has been destroyed.
Saint-Victor Jeune, another official with Haiti’s Civil Protection Agency told BBC that his team of rescuers found 82 dead bodies in a mountainous area of Jeremie. As this tragic situation in Haiti continues to unfold, much attention should be paid to the Western media’s depiction of what is occurring on the ground.
There should also be attention paid to the outreach effort of all the Western-based charities who will definitely be rushing to Haiti’s rescue. Racist media agendas of subliminal victim blaming and financial exploitation disguised as charity work can certainly become prevalent in the wake of what has happened in Haiti.
Pat Robertson, the ultra-conservative Christian televangelist despicably chastised Haitians in 2010 after the nation was hit with a severe earthquake that year.
He said that Haitians deserved what happened to them because of what he claimed was their “pact with the devil.” Perhaps Eurocentric ideologists in the media like Robertson look at Haiti as a historic thorn in the side of Western colonizers.
Haiti was founded by a group of Africans who revolted during the Trans-Atlantic trade. Haitians fought diligently to overcome the obstacles they endured during France’s aggressive military campaign to enslave and colonize them. They will fight once again to overcome the obstacles that this latest hurricane has leveled against their nation.
May God be with them.