Tags: tropical weather | cuba | hurricane ian

Cuba Begins to Turn On Lights After Ian Blacks Out Island

the streets of batabano, cuba, are flooded after the passage of hurricane ian
The streets of Batabano, Cuba, are flooded Tuesday after the passage of Hurricane Ian. (Getty Images)

Wednesday, 28 September 2022 09:23 AM EDT

Cuban officials said they were restoring some power Wednesday after Hurricane Ian knocked out electricity on the entire island while devastating some of the country's most important tobacco farms when it hit the island's western tip as a major storm.

The Energy and Mines Ministry announced it had restored energy to three regions by activating two large power plants in Felton and Nuevitas and was working to get others back on line.

But Havana, the capital, and other parts of western Cuba remained without power on Wednesday after the major hurricane, which had advanced northward to Florida.

On Tuesday, Ian hit Cuba, which has been struggling with an economic crisis and has faced frequent power outages in recent months. Ian made landfall as a Category 3 storm on the island's western end, devastating Pinar del Río province, where much of the tobacco used for Cuba's iconic cigars is grown.

Tens of thousands of people were evacuated and others fled the area before the arrival of Ian, which caused flooding, damaged houses and toppled trees. Authorities were still assessing the damage, although no fatalities had been reported.

Ian's winds damaged one of Cuba's most prestigious tobacco farms, Finca Robaina.

"It was apocalyptic, a real disaster," said Hirochi Robaina, owner of the farm that bears his name and that his grandfather made known internationally.

Robaina posted photos on social media of wood-and-thatch roofs smashed to the ground, greenhouses in rubble and wagons overturned.

Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel visited the affected region, telling the population: "Although the first impact is very painful, there's nothing to do but overcome the adversity."

"Being in the hurricane was terrible for me, but we are here alive," said Pinar del Rio resident Yusimí Palacios, who asked authorities for a roof and a mattress.

Officials had set up 55 shelters and took steps to protect crops, especially tobacco.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Cuba suffered "significant wind and storm surge impacts" when the hurricane struck with top sustained winds of 125 mph.

Ian was even stronger Wednesday as it approached the coast of Florida with top winds of 155 mph, threatening to cause catastrophic damage there.

In Cuba, local government station TelePinar reported damage at the main hospital in Pinar del Rio city, tweeting photos of collapsed ceilings and downed trees. No deaths were reported.

Videos on social media showed downed power lines and cut off roads in the provinces of Pinar del Rio, Artemisa and Mayabeque. A hospital in Pinar del Río was damaged.

"The town is flooded," said farmer Andy Muñoz, 37, who lives in Playa Cajío in Artemisa.

He said many people lost their belongings.

"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," said Mercedes Valdés, who lives along the highway connecting Pinar del Río to San Juan y Martínez. "We couldn't rescue our things ... we just ran out."

© Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


GlobalTalk
Cuban officials said they were restoring some power Wednesday after Hurricane Ian knocked out electricity on the entire island while devastating some of the country's most important tobacco farms when it hit the island's western tip as a major storm.
tropical weather, cuba, hurricane ian
498
2022-23-28
Wednesday, 28 September 2022 09:23 AM
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