MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Hurricane Matthew has killed at least 69 people, the death toll in struggling Haiti alone rising to 65, local officials said, as the storm headed northward on Thursday battering the Bahamas en route to Florida.

Haiti´s civil protection service put the toll in the impoverished Caribbean nation at 23 dead, many killed by falling trees, flying debris and swollen rivers. The interior ministry, a local mayor and other local delegates confirmed 42 other deaths to Reuters across Haiti.

That included a group of 24 people killed in the coastal town of Roche-a-Bateau.

"I've never seen anything like this," said the town's delegate Louis Paul Raphael.

Four people were killed earlier in neighboring Dominican Republic.

(Reporting by Joseph Guyler Delva; Writing by Simon Gardner)