Hurricane Matthew has made landfall in AOSIS member country, Haiti, as a category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale with sustained winds near 145 mph–making it the strongest hurricane to make landfall in the country since Hurricane Cleo in 1964.
In addition to powerful winds, Matthew is expected to bring a storm surge of 6-12 feet to the coast and rainfall totals of 40 inches or more.
Matthew will pass over the eastern tip of Cuba, another AOSIS member, later today and is then expected to take a leftward turn and start tracking across AOSIS member, the Bahamas.
But concerns for Haiti are heightened by the struggles the country is already facing after a devastating 2010 earthquake and a subsequent cholera epidemic.
The timing of the storm, weeks ahead of COP22 in Marrakesh, also calls attention to the role climate change is playing in making tropical cyclones more powerful.
Scientists stress, of course, that no single storm can be attributed to global warming, but the laws of physics dictate that when they do form in a warmer world, they can be stronger and bring more rain.
The development challenges in Haiti also underscore how meeting the SDGs remain critical to building resilience in communities at risk for such storms.
Updates will be provided as reports come in from AOSIS members in the line of the storm.