Tourists are packing their bags in Mexico, as Hurricane Dean picks up speed in the Caribbean, and threatens to make landfall on the Yucatan peninsula as a fully-fledged category 5 cyclone. Thousands in the popular holiday destination are hoping to escape the fierce winds, which have already claimed at least nine lives further east.
One Italian tourist said: “They told us it’s dangerous. I don’t know because I’ve never experienced it before. Now they’re taking us somewhere safer.” “It seemed safe to us,” a woman said, “but everything happened so quickly, they told us to leave the coast, and we’re following those instructions.”
Belize, the Cayman Islands, Haiti and Cuba are also on alert, as Hurricane Dean pounds its way westwards, carrying sustained winds of 240 kilometres per hour. Forecasters say it has catastrophic potential.
Jamaica has already felt Dean’s power. The capital Kingston was flooded, parts of the island were inundated with mudslides, and buildings disintegrated. Two men seen trying to loot a business were shot and wounded by security forces during the storm.