Cuba has become the latest Caribbean country to be hit by tropical storm Noel, with torrential rain and high winds. Reservoirs and rivers on the island are already full after double the average October rainfall, prompting fears of flooding. Noel is the 14th named storm of 2007’s hurricane season.
At least 18 people were killed when Noel smashed into Haiti and the Dominican Republic, which together form the island of Hispaniola. Exact numbers of victims proved difficult to compile because of problems reaching more remote areas. Several people were swept away in swollen rivers, while others were buried by mudslides. Thousands were moved from their homes, while collapsed bridges and damaged roads hindered the rescue operation.
The devastation caused anger among Haiti’s poor, with many demanding to know why the government hasn’t helped them. The US national hurricane centre in Miami expects Noel to stay over land, weakening in intensity, before turning northeast towards Florida and the Bahamas.