After wreaking havoc across the Caribbean where it has claimed at least 80 lives, Hurricane Gustav is now gaining strength as it storms towards western Cuba. Some 13,000 people have been evacuated in Cuba where flash flooding and mudslides are feared.
With winds of close to 200 kilometres per hour, Gustav has now been ranked a Category 4 storm. Large-scale evacuations are planned to start in four southern US states today. The US fears for its around 4,000 oil and gas platforms in the Gulf of Mexico and has started evacuating its personnel. The Gulf yields around a quarter of US oil production.