Hurricane Matthew Clobbers Cuba: 'Nothing Like This Has Ever Happened'
Oct 6 2016 11:30 AM EDT
By Pam Wright
Residents of Baracoa, Cuba, begin to dig out after Hurricane Matthew
destroyed dozens of homes.
While much of Cuba was spared the wrath of Hurricane Matthew, some areas
were devastated by flooding and storm surge.
Residents of Baracoa, Cuba, are digging out rubble that was left after
Hurricane Matthew hit the eastern portion of the country with heavy
flooding and strong storm surge.
Hit in some areas by 24-foot waves, Baracoa saw hundreds of homes were
either damaged or destroyed when flooding and the storm surge overcame
the city, according to the Associated Press.
According to reliefweb.int, 90 percent of the homes in Baracoa suffered
damage from the powerful storm and five municipalities in in the
province of Guantanamo remain isolated.
Residents in Baracoa say they saw some neighbors leaving their homes
with minor injuries. The mostly one-story homes close to the water's
edge appeared to take the brunt of the damage. Many larger buildings
were flooded and had roofs stripped of ceramic tiles during the storm.
"Hundreds of people from Baracoa, Maisí and other territories to the
east of Guantánamo have had their houses partially or completely
destroyed," wrote Rosa Martinez for the Havana Times. "Buildings
considered strong have collapsed; the structures in front of the seawall
in Baracoa lost their doors and windows. State entities in Baracoa such
as the La Rusa hotel, several schools, and the Primada Visión telephone
center lost their roof covering."
After the storm, some people stood amid the rubble of their homes
weeping, hugging or staring into the distance, while others scoured
through piles od debris for any possessions they could recover, AP reports.
"I've never seen something like this in my life," local homemaker Elva
Perez told AP. "For more than 200 years, here in this house, nothing
like this has ever happened."
The road joining Guantanamo's municipalities of Imías and Baracoa became
flooded and impassable, according to Diario Las Américas.
Nearly 380,000 people were evacuated and strong measures were taken to
protect communities and infrastructure, U.N. officials told AP.
National Geographic reporter and photographer Mike Theiss was on hand in
Baracoa to document the initial damage, which he posted to his Twitter
The U.S. Navy Base at Guantanamo Bay made it through the storm with
minimal damage, according to the Miami Herald. A spokesman had no
specific information on the damage outside of debris and water in the
road and ferry landings, as well as damage to the beaches.
According to the Pentagon, 700 family members were evacuated from the
Guantanamo Bay naval base to Florida before the storm hit. The base
suffered minimal damage.
Baracoa is one of the island nation's oldest and most historic towns,
according to the Miami New Times, which makes the devastation all the
more heartbreaking for residents. It was the first city the Spanish
settled after landing on the island and many of the town's buildings
have stood since the 1500s.
Source: Hurricane Matthew Clobbers Cuba: 'Nothing Like This Has Ever
Happened' | The Weather Channel -