Damage to Haiti by Hurricane Matthew visible from space, photos show

An image taken from NASA's Landsat 8 satellite shows a Haiti coastline On Sept. 26, a week prior to Hurricane Matthew's arrival. Subsequent photos taken on Oct. 12 showed a vastly different picture and underscored the damage brought by the category 4 hurricane. Photo courtesy NASA

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, Oct. 19 (UPI) — The damage inflicted on Haiti during Hurricane Matthew earlier this month was so great it can be spotted from space, NASA photos showed Wednesday.

The category 4 hurricane hit Haiti on Oct. 4 and left a wake of devastation. More than a thousand people were killed as a result of the storm, thousands were left homeless and physical damage was catastrophic.

Wednesday, NASA said its Landstat 8 satellite captured a series of images from space that clearly show the before-and-after difference.

The satellite images were taken on Sept. 26, a week before the storm hit Haiti, and one week after it made landfall on Oct. 12. The difference is a dramatic reduction in green areas. What appeared lush and green Sept. 26 was brown and muddied by Oct. 12.

The area near Les Cayes, Haiti, was hit hard. More than 90 percent of all buildings in the town were reportedly damaged or destroyed.

“Generally in Haiti, land is managed in very small patches, with a household having subsistence crops in a number of locations, often on steep slopes,” Alexandra Morel, an ecosystem scientist at the University of Oxford, said. “When I look at these images, I see what seems to be seriously denuded hillsides, which I assume are from crops and fallows being washed away.”

Matthew left Haiti and continued northwest, and brought severe weather and further damage to parts of the Southeast U.S. coastline — including parts of Florida, Georgia and South Carolina.


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