Florida continues to deal with power outages, flooding, and other Hurricane Irma-related difficulties, even after its reduction to a tropical storm. However, the effect of the storm’s devastation in the Caribbean is coming into clearer focus as Cuba has reported at least ten people dead, mostly due to collapsed buildings when the then-Category 5 hurricane barreled into the island nation.
Irma made landfall with Cuba on Friday night, “ripping off roofs, collapsing buildings and flooding hundreds of miles of coastline.” It was the first Category 5 hurricane to make landfall in the island nation in over 90 years.
Cuba reported extensive damage to its cities and resorts (5,000 tourists were evacuated before the storm) on the island’s northern coast as well as the farmland in central Cuba:
Video footage from northern and eastern Cuba showed severe damage. According to witnesses, a provincial museum near the eye of the storm was in ruins, and authorities in the city of Santa Clara said 39 buildings have collapsed.
Residents of “the capital should know that the flooding is going to last more than 36 hours, in other words, it is going to persist,” Civil Defense Col. Luis Angel Macareno said late Saturday, noting that the seawater had penetrated some 2,000 feet into parts of Havana.
Evacuation and aid efforts were underway throughout other islands in the Caribbean hit hard by Irma, with the death toll for the storm believed to be around 38 throughout the region as a whole. However, complete evacuations are expected to be slowed by airports in Florida being closed and such acute destruction to buildings and infrastructure on the islands.
Fortunately, the region was spared additional damage this weekend, for Hurricane Jose only brushed some islands as it made its way north in the Atlantic.