Haitian officials raise death toll from Hurricane Matthew to 283

Friday, 07 October 2016 - 9:35

The death toll from Hurricane Matthew's furious blast across beleaguered Haiti rose to more than  280 people  late Thursday night, while the Atlantic basin's most powerful storm in almost a decade continued its unrelenting march toward the U.S. East Coast.

An official from Haiti's Interior Ministry told the Associated Press that Hurricane Matthew claimed at least 283 people after the storm struck Tuesday with 145-mph winds, torrential rain and driving storm surge. Haitian Interior Minister Francois Anick Joseph called the death toll "very provisional," saying authorities had yet to complete a nationwide damage assessment.

Matthew, which has prompted evacuation orders for more than 2 million people from Florida to South Carolina. is the most powerful single hurricane on record to make landfall in Haiti, Cuba and the Bahamas. Other countries in the region also felt the storm's fury.

Matthew was smashing through the Bahamas on Thursday, and little information on damage was immediately available. At least four died in the Dominican Republic, Haiti's neighbor on the island of Hispaniola. Deaths also were reported in Colombia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.