Cuba, Haiti and Dominican Republic

6 October 2016

Cuba: Dangerous hurricane closes airports

This alert applies to Cuba, Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

One of the most powerful hurricanes in recent years is closing in on Haiti, bringing winds, rains and storm surges, BBC reports. 

Hurricane Matthew, a Category Four storm, is forecast to hit the western tip of Haiti early today.

Matthew could bring up to 102cm of rain and winds of 230km/h, potentially triggering mudslides and flash floods. Haitian officials say about 1,300 emergency shelters have been built, enough to accommodate 340 000 people. 

Both airports in Haiti are closed.

About 13,000 people were evacuated from high-risk areas in neighbouring Dominican Republic, which is also expected to get battered by rains and winds.

Heavy rain and winds have already hit parts of Jamaica, with floodwaters blocking roads in the capital Kingston.

Matthew is later expected to reach eastern Cuba, where a hurricane alert is in place for six eastern provinces and residents are being moved from low-lying areas.

It is also predicted to hit the US east coast later in the week. Florida and parts of North Carolina have declared states of emergency.