Hurricane Matthew death toll rises to 842 in Haiti

(Journalist Yvetot Gouin/CNN)

The death toll from Hurricane Matthew has reportedly risen to 842 in Haiti, officials said.

Haiti had only just begun rebuilding from a devastating earthquake six years ago when Hurricane Matthew tore through the small Caribbean nation on Tuesday, killing hundreds in its path and inundating entire villages.

Once again much of the country is a disaster zone, with powerful Matthew shredding homes and engulfing communities in knee-deep water that is taking time to recede.

At least 271 people have been killed since Matthew made landfall in Haiti as a Category 4 hurricane, and officials in the country warn that the death toll is only likely to rise. Reuters reported that the number of people killed in Haiti had risen sharply to at least 478 people on Friday as information began to flow in from areas that had been cut off. The news agency tallied figures from various civil protection officials.

"We have nothing left to survive on, all the crops have gone, all fruit trees are down, I don't have a clue how this is going to be fixed," said Marc Soniel Noel, the deputy mayor of Chantal in the affected region.

As the hurricane brushed the Florida coast Friday, US President Barack Obama said urged Americans to donate to the American Red Cross and other philanthropic organizations to help Haiti and other affected countries.

"We know that hundreds of people ... lost their lives and that they're going to need help rebuilding," he said at the White House.

For now, the focus is just reaching victims, as the only bridge linking the capital Port-au-Prince to the worst-affected southwest was damaged.