Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Isaac caused minimal damage in Cuba

Posted on Tuesday, 08.28.12

Isaac caused minimal damage in Cuba

Tropical Storm Isaac knocked down four houses and forced nearly 50,000
people from their homes but caused no deaths in Cuba.
By Juan O. Tamayo

As the death toll from Tropical Storm Isaac climbed to 24 in Haiti, work
crews in Cuba were sweeping up the debris left behind by the storm,
which knocked down four houses and forced nearly 50,000 people from
their homes.

Interior Ministry Col. Luis Macareño, second in command of the National
Civil Defense, declared in a television appearance late Monday that the
weekend storm caused no deaths or significant material losses.

Modest flooding was reported Monday in Havana neighborhoods closest to
its iconic Malecón seaside boulevard, lashed by powerful swells churned
up by Isaac's winds. Work crews carted off storm debris from the
neighborhoods to keep street drains clear.

About 48,600 people left their homes for safer ground during the storm,
mostly to the more sturdy homes of relatives or neighbors, Macareño
added. Only 1,200 went into official shelters.

Damages to Cuba's tourist facilities were minimal, added José Bisbé,
commercial director of the tourism ministry. About 37,000 foreign
tourists and nearly 30,000 Cubans were staying in the island's hotels
and camp grounds at the time.

Deputy Health Minister Luis Estruch warned during the program that
Isaac's rains could unleash a plague of the Aedes Aegypti mosquito,
which carries dengue fever. There have been unconfirmed reports that an
outbreak of dengue already has reached epidemic proportions.

Isaac hit Baracoa, the oldest and most eastern Cuban city, on Saturday.
It left land five hours later through the famed Guardalavaca beach in
northeastern Holguín province. On Tuesday, officials reported that Isaac
caused 24 deaths in Haiti and another five in the Dominican Republic.

Haiti's Civil Protection Office said in a report that the bulk of the
deaths happened in the southeastern and western departments of the country.

Some of the victims were electrocuted and others died after objects fell
on them. Three people are missing.

In Cuba, the storm destroyed four homes in Baracoa and damaged another
19, according to official reports. It also knocked down power lines and
damaged nearly 1,100 acres of plantain, cocoa, and coconut plants in the

The Sagua de Tánamo River in Holguín overflowed and flooded 72 homes
near its banks, according to the National Information Agency (AIN). But
the river quickly retreated and families were returning home.

The damages paled in comparison with 2008, when three hurricanes caused
$10 billion in losses and damaged 500,000 homes.

Material from The Associated Press was included in this report.

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