Haitian Montrealers watch anxiously as Caribbean island hammered by hurricane

Hurricane Matthew is pounding the southwestern coast of Haiti, threatening a largely rural corner of the impoverished country with devastating storm conditions.

'Extremely dangerous' Category 4 storm makes landfall, bringing 230 km/h winds

Civil protection workers ask residents to evacuate their homes located near the the Grise river, in Tabarre, Haiti on Monday.

Montreal's Haitian community is anxiously watching as Hurricane Matthew pounds the southwestern coast of the Caribbean island.

"Everybody is very concerned," said Marjorie Villefranche, director general of the Maison d'Haiti, a community centre in Montreal. 

The Category 4 storm threatened a largely rural corner of the impoverished country Tuesday with devastating storm conditions as it headed north toward Cuba and the eastern coast of Florida.

Vendors sell their goods on the street while Hurricane Matthew approaches in Port-au-Prince, Haiti on Monday. (Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters)

It was also dumping heavy rains on other parts of Haiti, the hemisphere's poorest country where many people live in flimsy shacks in areas prone to flooding, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami.

Heavy rain also fell on Jamaica and dangerous rainfall levels were a threat for the Dominican Republic, which adjoins Haiti.

Villefranche said the eye of the storm is hitting an agricultural region that produces a significant amount of food for the country.

Pierre Emmanuel, head of CPAM, a Haitian radio station in Montreal, said he has been conducting special broadcasts on the storm. 

He said high rains and heavy winds have already made it difficult to get in touch with people in the affected areas.

with files from Associated Press