The Cuban government has long prided itself on its country’s disaster preparedness, but in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma making landfall in the island nation as a category 5 storm on Friday, the extent of the damage is unknown.
A new report says at least 10 people are dead in Cuba after Irma hit the northern portion of the country.
Reports also indicate that high winds and a massive storm surge forced Cubans to retreat to Communist-era underground military bunkers that were built nearly two decades ago, when the Cuban regime believed it would be attacked by the United States.
Ahead of the weekend storm, the Cuban military apparently went door-to-door in both coastal cities and rural farmlands to force residents to evacuate. Displaced people were taken to government buildings, schools, or the bunkers, where families were said to be huddled together under blankets in the dimly lit caves eating rationed food.
While nearly two dozens were confirmed across the Caribbean in the aftermath of Irma’s wrath, Cuba has yet to formally address any reports of damage or loss of life. Photos show Cubans wading through waist deep water in some of the country’s busiest metropolises, and, as the Daily Mail reported, Civil Defense Colonel Luis Angel Macareno said late Saturday that residents in Havana “should know that the flooding is going to last more than 36 hours, in other words, it is going to persist.”
According to NBC News, one of Havana’s main hospitals, Hermanos Almejeiras, was forced to move all patients to the sixth, seventh and eighth floors ahead of the storm surge, but did not plan to evacuate people. Additionally, Cuba’s Electric Company announced it would be cutting power to the capital city because of high winds, and the country’s Ministry of Communications confirmed it would remove all public Wi-Fi receivers—meaning there is virtually no way to get in contact with those on the island.
(H/T: Daily Mail)