With Hurricane Matthew hitting Haiti and dumping significant amounts of rain, local residents in Gainesville who have had firsthand experience with Haiti are worried.
The storm is the strongest hurricane to move through the Atlantic in almost a decade. The category four hurricane made landfall at 7 a.m. EST near Les Anglais, Haiti with winds of 145 mph and is expected to dump 40 inches of rain in the mountains.
The framework of Haiti is a big concern for many people.
“I think the infrastructure and a lot of the houses were made out of like sticks and they didn’t have roofs, or there was like trash all over the city that could get flooded into homes,” said Sara Pifer, a University of Florida student who has been to Haiti on a mission trip.
Hurricane Matthew has claimed four lives, two of them being fishermen in Haiti. There are reports of power outages, fallen trees and downed power lines. Many are also worried that those who have not recovered from the earthquake six years ago will suffer.
“With the infrastructure, it’s really hard to prepare for something like that and if you look at some of the people and some of the children like coming from the earthquake they still haven’t fully recovered and so you are dealing with people that are living in tents, and now they have to find shelter and somewhere to go so its really hard,” said Widner Agenor, a Haiti native.
The biggest concern is the threat of deadly floods or mudslides. The government has set up shelters in all major cities and urged people to go to them, but many refuse to leave their homes.
The eye of the storm has passed over Haiti but rain will continue there until Wednesday.