MIAMI – Hurricane Matthew is moving slowly toward Jamaica and southwestern Haiti, where one death has already been reported due to the heavy rains from the storm, officials said Monday.
The storm victim was a fisherman who drowned in St. Jean Du Sude, a town in Haiti’s Sur department, while another person was reported missing in Aquin, located in the southern part of the country, the Haitian national emergency management office said.
In the neighboring Dominican Republic, more than 8,500 people have been evacuated due to Hurricane Matthew, and 15 of the country’s 32 provinces are on alert, officials said.
Of the evacuees, 366 are in government shelters and the rest have moved in with relatives or friends away from high-risk areas, the Emergency Operations Center, or COE, said.
Matthew, a powerful Category 4 storm with maximum sustained winds of 215 kph (130 mph), could make landfall later in the day on Monday, the National Hurricane Center, or NHC, said.
The fifth hurricane of the Atlantic storm season is moving north at nine kph (six mph), the NHC said in its 1200 GMT bulletin.
Matthew is about 355 kilometers (220 miles) southwest of Kingston, Jamaica, and 450 kilometers (280 miles) southwest of Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti.
A hurricane warning is in effect for Jamaica, Haiti and the Cuban provinces of Guantanamo, Santiago de Cuba, Holguin, Granma and Las Tunas, while a hurricane watch is in effect for the Cuban province of Camaguey, the Turks and Caicos Islands and the central Bahamas, including Long Island, Exuma, Rum Cay, San Salvador and Cat Island.
A tropical storm warning is in effect for the Dominican Republic from the western part of Barahona to the border with Haiti.