Haiti was slammed on Tuesday with 145 mile-per-hour winds and massive waves that flooded coastal towns, leaving a trail of destruction in its wake. According to news reports, the Category 4 storm – the region's strongest in nearly a decade –claimed three deaths in Haiti and another in Jamaica.
Tens of thousands of people still live in tents in Haiti, which suffers conditions of extreme poverty that were sharply exacerbated by a 2010 earthquake that killed more than 200,000 people.
Meanwhile, as the worst storm since 1966's Hurricane Inez begins to veer toward Cuba, state evacuation systems have efficiently begun to come into effect. Cuba's high degree of coordination, organization, and extensive disaster preparedness – from Civil Defense bodies to students and parents – has spared it from some of the worst consequences that such storms are capable of bringing.
However, Cuban President Raul Castro issued a stark warning that Matthew should not be underestimated, noting that it was much stronger than the devastating Hurricane Sandy. "We have to prepare as if it has twice the power of Sandy," Granma newspaper quoted Castro as saying on a visit to the area.
teleSUR takes a look at life in a region known for giving birth to some of the world's most intense hurricanes and tropical storms as the people reckon with Hurricane Matthew.