Residents of Cuba are battening down the hatches. The authorities have put the island on “high alert” ahead of Hurricane Ike. The cyclone is expected to rain new misery on Haiti, where hundreds died in three storms earlier this month. Around 20,000 people have been evacuated from the region around the city of Gonaives. Some 650,000 were affected by the last weeks of flooding, almost half of them, children. Rescue workers are struggling to meet the need for food, clean water and shelter.
After lashing the Turks and Caicos Islands earlier today, Ike’s course takes it through Cuba and the Bahamas, and on to the US Gulf Coast. With winds reaching 135 miles an hour, Ike has been upgraded to Category four on the intensity scale.
In the Dominican Republic too, residents have been preparing for the worst, building makeshift defences, boarding up shops and houses. Supermarkets have been clogged by those stocking up on supplies. Ike is the latest weather threat to the US and the Caribbean following in the wake of Hurricane Gustav and Tropical Storm Hanna.