Irma death toll rises in Cuba

Irma death toll rises in Cuba
By Catherine Hardy with REUTERS
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At least 10 people have been killed in Cuba by Hurricane Irma, which has now been downgraded to a tropical storm.


At least 10 people have been killed in Cuba by Hurricane Irma, which has now been downgraded to a tropical storm.

The death toll from the storm in the Caribbean now stands at 38.

Where did they die?

The civil defence authorities say seven of the dead were reported in the province of Havana. Fatalities have also been reported in Matanzas, home to the tourist resort of Varadero and the regions of Ciego de Avila and Camaguey further east.

Two of the victims died in central Havana when a balcony came crashing down onto the bus they were travelling in.

The authorities attributed two other deaths to a collapsed roof and three to building collapses.

How bad was the storm?

Ferocious. It barreled into Cuba late on Friday and, with winds of up to 260 kph, is the first Category 5 hurricane to make landfall on the island since 1932, according to state media.

Waves of up to 11 metres crashed into Havana’s historic seafront boulevard on Sunday.

Millions have been left without electricity.

Where is Irma now?

Florida. The storm pummeled 322 kilometres of Cuba’s northern coastline before turning northward on Sunday.

What about the economic effect?

State media report that Irma has seriously damaged Cuba’s already dilapidated sugar industry, flooding and flattening an extensive area of sugar cane.

Many of Cuba’s top tourist resorts took a direct hit from Irma. President Raul Castro has vowed they will be fixed up in time for high tourist season at the end of the year.

What they are saying

“Given the immensity of its size, practically no region escaped its impact,” said Cuban President Raul Castro in a statement published in state-run media on Monday.

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