Hurricane Matthew is responsible for the deaths of at least 264 people in embattled Haiti

The soaring death toll has been confirmed by Haitian government officials, who are grappling with the fallout of the most powerful Caribbean storm in nearly a decade.

Some 50 people have reportedly died in the southern town of Roche-a-Bateau alone, while 80% of buildings in the peninsula’s main city, Jeremie, have been totally flattened.

“I’ve never seen anything like this,” said Louis Paul Raphael, a central government representative in Roche-a-Bateau.

The terrifyingly strong hurricane has now progressed to a Category 4, which means winds “ranging from 131 to 155 mph that can cause catastrophic damage to property, humans, and animals. Severe structural damage to frame homes, apartments, and shopping centres should also be expected.”

Matthew is currently moving north, causing destruction through the Bahamas and heading straight for Florida

President Barack Obama held a press conference overnight, stating that Florida is now in state of emergency, and that he’s ordered federal aid to assist local response teams when the storm hits. 

Florida governor Rick Scott has warned Floridians of “massive destruction” on a never-before-seen level. 

“Unfortunately this is going to kill people if they don’t get out.”

Florida residents are being urged to evacuate their homes immediately, and move inland. Millions of people have already done just that, and Scott says the state is looking at its “biggest evacuation ever”. 

We’ll update this story as more information arises. 

Source: BBC.

Photo: Miami Herald / Getty.