(HAVANA) Hurricane Irma made landfall in Cuba as a Category 5 hurricane overnight and will continue to pound the island nation through the day before turning to Florida.
While Cuban authorities have prepared for the storm, CARE is extremely worried about the impact Irma will leave behind.
Communication with affected regions along the northern coast of the central provinces is difficult at the moment. Early reports indicate people are facing extremely heavy winds and strong storm surges, which has resulted in flooding in some communities. Winds have been recorded above 250km/h and waves exceeding seven metres. Heavy winds knocked out electricity in parts of the island and roofs have been blown off houses in some communities.
Richard Paterson, CARE’s country representative in Cuba, said this morning from Havana that the capital city is starting to see overcast conditions and winds picking up, but it’s nothing like the alarming reports coming from elsewhere in the island.
Satellite imagery shows the eye of Hurricane Irma moving along the Cuban coast throughout the day Saturday before it eventually heads north towards Florida. After hitting Cuba as a Category 5 hurricane, the highest on the measurement scale, Irma was downgraded to Category 4 and still remains an incredibly dangerous storm.
The Cuban authorities have led emergency preparedness efforts evacuating more than one million people as a precaution. CARE and local partners are preparing to respond if requested and will look to support water, sanitation, hygiene and household supplies and other relief items as needed’.
“The area of influence of this storm is massive, and we are concerned the sheer size and strength of Irma will be felt throughout the island. I am concerned municipalities along the northern coast in particular will face devastation. While evacuation centres are prepared with good solid structures and facilities in place, it is what people will come back to that will be a shock, particularly for the most vulnerable people.”
Richard Paterson, CARE country representative in Cuba
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To help us ensure we can respond to emergencies right away, CARE Canada has set up the Emergency Response Fund. Visit care.ca/response to donate.