Cuba with out electrical energy after hurricane hammers energy grid

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

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

Ian hit a Cuba that has been scuffling with an financial disaster and has confronted frequent energy outages in latest months. It made landfall as a Category 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 have been evacuated and others fled the world forward of the arrival of Ian, which brought on flooding, broken homes and toppled bushes. Authorities have been nonetheless assessing the harm, though no fatalities had been reported by Tuesday evening.

Ian’s winds broken certainly one of Cuba’s most essential tobacco farms in La Robaina.

“It was apocalyptic, a real disaster,” mentioned Hirochi Robaina, proprietor of the farm that bears his title and that his grandfather made recognized internationally.

Robaina, additionally the proprietor of the Finca Robaina cigar producer, posted images 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 town of Pinar del Río was within the coronary heart of the hurricane for an hour and a half.

“Being in the hurricane was terrible for me, but we are here alive,” mentioned Pinar del Rio resident Yusimí Palacios, who requested authorities for a roof and a mattress.

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

The U.S. National Hurricane Center mentioned Cuba suffered “significant wind and storm surge impacts” when the hurricane struck with prime sustained winds of 125 mph (205 kph).

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

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

Local authorities station TelePinar reported heavy harm on the most important hospital in Pinar del Rio metropolis, tweeting images of collapsed ceilings and downed bushes. No deaths have been reported.

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

“The town 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 home with my husband and the dog. The masonry and zinc roof of the house had just been installed. But 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 things … we just ran out.”

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

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