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US suspends deportations to Haiti in wake of Hurricane Matthew

The US has suspended deportations to Haiti after Hurricane Matthew. More than two million people in Haiti have been impacted by the worst disaster to hit the country since a 2010 earthquake.

US Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson on Tuesday said deportations of Haitians illegally in the United States would be temporarily suspended due to the humanitarian crisis in the wake of Hurricane Matthew.

The United States halted deportations of Haitians after the devastating 2010 earthquake.

Nearly 500 people were killed when Hurricane Matthew whipped through the impoverished nation last week leaving a trail of devastation. 

Johnson said the United States would resume deportations in the future, but needed to "be sympathetic to the plight of the people of Haiti as a result" of the hurricane.

Last month, the United States announced it would halt special provisions that prevented deportations of Haitians put in place after the earthquake. The policy shift came in response to a spike in Haitian immigrants crossing the Mexican border. Thousands of Haitians are in Mexican border towns trying to cross into the United States.

The United Nations estimates that at least 1.4 million people need assistance and 2.1 million have been affected by the hurricane, the worst disaster to strike Haiti since the 2010 earthquake.

In response, the United Nations launched a $120 million appeal for the next three months as people struggle to find food and clean water.

The poorest country in the Americas was already dealing with a cholera outbreak, which has claimed 10,000 lives since 2010 after UN peacekeepers introduced the disease.

Fearing the outbreak could widen, the World Health Organization pledged Tuesday to provide a million doses of cholera vaccines.

Watch video 01:41

Monster Hurricane Matthew devastates Haiti

cw/bw (AP, Reuters)

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