At least 10 dead in Cuba from Hurricane Irma

We should not delude ourselves, the task ahead of us is huge, but with a people like ours, we will win the most important battle: recovery.

Irma, which was expected to cause billions of dollars in damage to the third-most-populous USA state, it hit just days after the Houston area was deluged by unprecedented flooding from Hurricane Harvey, which dumped more than 127cm of rain in parts of Texas.

One Tauranga travel agent said they had a client who would have arrived in Cuba on Wednesday, and another agency confirmed they had at least one client staying in Florida. Windows, roofs and even walls were gone. In the cities of Matanzas, Ciego de Avila and Camaguey, three men in their 50s and 60s died in building collapses.

As Cubans tried to dry out from the effects of Hurricane Irma, the government said restoring the electric grid, dealing with water shortages and resuming the school year were its main priorities.

Civil Defense official Gregorio Torres said authorities were trying to tally the extent of the damage in eastern Cuba, home to hundreds of rural communities.

Yuri Camilo Viamontes Lazo, Deputy Minister of Energy and Mines, explained that Hurricane Irma caused significant damage in 100% of the thermoelectric plants located along the northern coast of the country and, to a lesser extent, in two plants along the southern coast.

French government spokesman Christophe Castaner, speaking Sunday with Europe1-CNews-Les Echos, said he "perfectly (understood) the anger" of island residents.

"The water rushed in and knocked down our door", said Olga, as she took all her soaked belongings out of her house to dry in the returning sunshine.

Most of the capital was without power early Sunday.

A local elected official weathered Hurricane Irma in the badly battered U.S. Virgin Islands.

Russ said: "We have been extremely lucky, there's no real damage here".

The Secretary of Defense authorized humanitarian assistance support to St. Martin as a result of a French government request to the USA government for global assistance. He said he will match those donations, up to $1 million.

There were no immediate reports of fatalities in Cuba, where the government prides itself on disaster preparedness and said it had evacuated more than 1 million people.

"Sheets of zinc that came flying into our backyard also damaged the kitchen wall and we lost many roof tiles", said Angel Coya, 52, adding he was optimistic that Cuba's Communist government would help fix the damage.

Another British tourist, Dave Kelsey, said he was winding down after spending part of the night huddled in a bathtub as winds howled through the hotel, flinging sunbeds far away, tearing up palm trees and flooding rooms.

"I think the atmosphere now is relief, knowing it is past and the building is still there and everyone is OK", said the British woman, wearing a colorful pareo over her swimsuit.

If the current track of Hurricane Irma is correct, this area will be spared any significant impact from the storm, according to the National Weather Service (NWS) in Blacksburg.

  • Joanne Flowers