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Hurricane Ian wreaks havoc in Cuba

Hurricane Ian wreaks havoc in Cuba
Demolished homes, devastated tobacco farms, huge floods are toll left by Ian after making landfall on island

By Laura Gamba

BOGOTA, Colombia (AA) - Hurricane Ian made landfall in Cuba early Tuesday, causing severe damage and flooding on the island.

The Category 3 hurricane moved from south to north into western Cuba in the province of Pinar de Rio, Cuba's main tobacco-growing region.

​​In its path, Ian left fallen electrical poles, damaged hospitals and homes, trees on the ground and flooding everywhere.

The city of Pinar del Rio received sustained winds of 135 miles (217 kilometers) per hour and was in the eye of the hurricane for an hour and a half, according to the Cuban Meteorological Institute.

More than 50,000 people were evacuated Monday, and authorities set up 55 shelters. More than one million residents are still without electricity.

The owner of one of Cuba's best-known tobacco farms, the Robaina farm, published images showing the property's roofs smashed to the ground, destroyed greenhouses and wagons overturned.

“It was apocalyptic, a real disaster,” wrote Hirochi Robaina, grandson of the operation’s founder, on social media.

The island's main international airport -- José Martí, in Havana -- ceased operations Monday night.

Leaders of the Cuban-American community in Florida signed a petition Monday asking the owners of the island's largest hotels to offer lodging to Cuban families "who will be left homeless as a result of Ian."

The hurricane’s course is directing it to the coast of the US state of Florida, where it could become a catastrophic Category 4 storm on Wednesday.

source: News Feed
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