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TRAVEL ADVISORY – Hurricane Matthew Causes Mass Evacuations in the Caribbean

Key Points:

  • Hurricane Matthew has been declared a category four storm. A metre of rainfall is anticipated along with winds of up to 230km/h.
  • The centre of the storm is due to reach western Haiti on 04 October 2016 at around 1100UTC.

Situation Summary:
Environmental: Hurricane Matthew is due to make landfall on the western tip of Haiti on 4 Oct 2016. The category four storm is anticipated to cause severe devastation on the island which is one of the world’s poorest countries. The severe winds and heavy rainfall will likely trigger mudslides and flash floods. Local authorities have encouraged citizens to evacuate their homes for safer and more stable locations. Officials report around 1,300 emergency shelters have been built which should be able to accommodate around 340,000 people. Airports in Haiti have been temporarily closed.

Intrinsic Comment:
Hurricane Matthew is the most powerful Atlantic storm recorded since 2007. In neighbouring Dominican Republic, around 13,000 people have been evacuated whilst Jamaica has already experienced some flooding. A hurricane alert is currently in place in eastern Cuba where locals are being evacuated from low-level areas. Hurricane Matthew is anticipated to be a category 3 or 4 when it reaches the coast of Florida at the end of the week, but will be likely be downgraded as it moves further up the east coast to Georgia and North Carolina. At present, a state of emergency has been declared in Florida and 66 counties in North Carolina.

 

Intrinsic Advice:
Risk Ratings: Haiti: High Environmental: Severe
It is advisable to be stocked up on food, water, medications and a fully charged cell phone as well as ensure the infrastructure of the shelter is secure. Emergency services remain poor in Haiti, which has struggled to rebuild since the earthquake in 2010. It is likely the storm will have a severe impact on roads and communication lines, limiting access to badly affected areas and hampering efforts of emergency services. It is advisable to find shelter as soon as possible.
Risk Ratings:          United States: Low                               Environmental: High
Hurricane Matthew is due to reach the Florida coast line early on Friday morning. It is advisable to ensure your home or current location is secure and stock up on food and water, medications and a fully charged cell phone. Food supplies should consist of non-perishable items and be enough to support each family member for up to three days. One gallon of water per day per person is recommended. Follow evacuation advisories from local authorities. Monitor weather updates for any changes which may directly impact your current location.

 

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