Cuba with out electrical energy after hurricane hammers energy grid

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HAVANA — Hurricane Ian knocked out energy throughout all of Cuba and devastated a few of the nation’s most vital tobacco farms when it slammed into the island’s western tip as a serious hurricane Tuesday.

Cuba’s Electrical Union mentioned in an announcement that work was underway to regularly restore service to the nation’s 11 million individuals throughout the evening. Energy was initially knocked out to about 1 million individuals in Cuba’s western provinces, however later your complete grid collapsed.

Ian hit a Cuba that has been scuffling with an financial disaster and has confronted frequent energy outages in current months. It made landfall as a Class 3 storm on the island’s western finish, devastating Pinar del Río province, the place a lot of the tobacco used for Cuba’s iconic cigars is grown.

Tens of hundreds of individuals had been evacuated and others fled the world forward of the arrival of Ian, which prompted flooding, broken homes and toppled bushes. Authorities had been nonetheless assessing the injury, though no fatalities had been reported by Tuesday evening.

Ian’s winds broken one in every of Cuba’s most vital tobacco farms in La Robaina.

“It was apocalyptic, an actual catastrophe,” mentioned Hirochi Robaina, proprietor of the farm that bears his identify and that his grandfather made recognized internationally.

Robaina, additionally the proprietor of the Finca Robaina cigar producer, posted photographs on social media of wood-and-thatch roofs smashed to the bottom, greenhouses in rubble and wagons overturned.

State media mentioned Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel visited the affected area.

Cuba’s Meteorology Institute mentioned the town of Pinar del Río was within the coronary heart of the hurricane for an hour and a half.

“Being within the hurricane was horrible for me, however we’re right here alive,” mentioned Pinar del Rio resident Yusimí Palacios, who requested authorities for a roof and a mattress.

Officers had arrange 55 shelters and took steps to guard crops, particularly tobacco.

The U.S. Nationwide Hurricane Middle mentioned Cuba suffered “vital wind and storm surge impacts” when the hurricane struck with high sustained winds of 125 mph (205 kph).

Ian was anticipated to get even stronger over the nice and cozy Gulf of Mexico, reaching high winds of 130 mph (209 kph) approaching the southwestern coast of Florida, the place 2.5 million individuals had been ordered to evacuate.

Because the storm’s middle moved into the Gulf, scenes of destruction emerged in Cuba. Authorities had been nonetheless assessing the injury in its world-famous tobacco belt.

Native authorities station TelePinar reported heavy injury on the most important hospital in Pinar del Rio metropolis, tweeting photographs of collapsed ceilings and downed bushes. No deaths had been reported.

Movies on social media confirmed downed energy traces and minimize off roads within the provinces of Pinar del Rio, Artemisa and Mayabeque. A hospital in Pinar del Río was broken.

“The city is flooded,” mentioned farmer Andy Muñoz, 37, who lives in Playa Cajío in Artemisa.

He mentioned many individuals misplaced their belongings as a result of storm surge.

“I spent the hurricane at residence with my husband and the canine. The masonry and zinc roof of the home had simply been put in. However the storm tore it down,” mentioned Mercedes Valdés, who lives alongside the freeway connecting Pinar del Río to San Juan y Martínez. “We couldn’t rescue our issues … we simply ran out.”

AP journalist Osvaldo Angulo in Pinar del Rio contributed to this report.



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