PORT-AU-PRINCE: Hurricane Matthew, the Caribbean’s worst storm in nearly a decade, barreled towards the Bahamas Wednesday morning after killing nine people and pummeling Haiti and Cuba.
Far to the north, the first evacuations were ordered in the United States as coastal residents prepared to escape the approaching monster storm, expected off the East Coast later this week.
In Haiti, severe flooding and devastating winds caused untold damage.
The collapse of a bridge cut off the only road linking Port-au-Prince to the peninsula that makes up southern Haiti, making matters worse.
The storm’s overall death toll stands at nine — five in Haiti and four in the Dominican Republic.
A partial assessment of the damage in Haiti, indicated that 14,500 people had been displaced and 1,855 homes flooded. Those numbers were expected to increase dramatically once communication is reestablished with the area.
One person has been reported missing and around 10 injured so far in Haiti, officials said.
Next in line, Cuba was hit late Tuesday afternoon on its eastern tip.
The storm’s eye made landfall around 0000 GMT but its center has already moved northeast of the island, heading north the US National Hurricane Center said.
Florida and South Carolina as well as parts of North Carolina and Georgia have declared states of emergency.