Tuesday November 11 2008
St. Kitts/Nevis Prime Minister Dr. Denzil L. Douglas has expressed his
concern on the safety of the Federation's students studying in Cuba
following the passage of Hurricane Paloma.
He has directed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to seek information from
the Cuban Embassy here on the safety of the students following the
latest pounding by Hurricane Paloma last Saturday.
Crashing waves and a powerful sea surge from Hurricane Paloma destroyed
hundreds of homes in Cuba.
Cuba, still reeling from the destruction of two recent hurricanes, early
damage reports were limited, but state media said the late-season storm
toppled a major communications tower, interrupted electricity and phone
service and sent sea water almost a mile inland, ravaging a coastal
community near where it made landfall. No storm-related deaths were
The Associated Press reports Vicente de la O of Cuba's national power
company as telling state television that damage to the power grid was
far less than that caused by hurricanes Gustav and Ike in late August
and early September.
Paloma roared ashore near Santa Cruz del Sur late Saturday as an
extremely dangerous category four hurricane but quickly lost strength,
according to the US National Hurricane Centre in Miami. Forecasters said
the Cuban and Bahamian governments discontinued all warnings associated
with Paloma by Sunday morning.
Waves more than 10 feet high levelled about 50 modest houses along the
coast of Santa Cruz del Sur. Civil Defense authorities said altogether
435 homes in the community were destroyed.
Touring Santa Cruz del Sur on Sunday, Vice President Jose Ramon Machado
Ventura said the area was among the hardest-hit nationwide.
Paloma steadily lost strength as it meandered across Cuba on Sunday and
was expected to reach the central Bahamas as a weak area of low pressure
yesterday morning. The storm was expected to unravel and not threaten
the southern tip of Florida.
Across central and eastern Cuba, more than 500,000 people were evacuated
from low-lying areas as Paloma approached. Cuba regularly moves people
en masse to higher ground before tropical storms and hurricanes,
preventing major loss of life.