Havana hit by rare tornado, at least three dead

HAVANA (Reuters) - A rare tornado ripped through several working class districts of eastern Havana late Sunday night, leaving at least three dead and scores injured as it reduced some buildings to rubble, tore off roofs and flipped vehicles in its path. The storm left much of Havana without electricity on Monday, and the streets of the worse-hit districts were strewn with shards of glass and fallen power poles and trees.

Reuters January 29, 2019 00:07:48 IST
Havana hit by rare tornado, at least three dead

Havana hit by rare tornado at least three dead

HAVANA (Reuters) - A rare tornado ripped through several working class districts of eastern Havana late Sunday night, leaving at least three dead and scores injured as it reduced some buildings to rubble, tore off roofs and flipped vehicles in its path.

The storm left much of Havana without electricity on Monday, and the streets of the worse-hit districts were strewn with shards of glass and fallen power poles and trees.

It was the first twister to hit the Cuban capital in decades and was described by the daily of the ruling Communist Party as an "extraordinary" event.

"It felt like the jet engine of a large plane," said Julio Cesar Garcia Martinez, a resident of 10 de Octubre, one of the worst-affected neighborhoods. A large palm tree had fallen and crushed his Lada.

"The cars were turning over in the street, the roofs falling down," he said.

President Miguel Diaz-Canel, who toured one of the hardest-hit districts, tweeted: "The damage is severe and up to now we regret the loss of three lives and we are attending to 172 injured."

The reports of deaths and injuries were preliminary as rescue workers combed through damaged buildings in the blacked-out neighborhoods, where much of the housing is dilapidated.

"It took everything. We lost the fridge, the air conditioner, the mattress - it tore everything apart," said Lazaro Diaz, who had been walking in the street when he saw the earth whipped up by the winds and sought refuge at a neighbor's. The tornado ripped off the roof of his home.

"If I hadn't done that, then I wouldn't be here today," he said.

New and expectant mothers at a nearby maternity hospital were evacuated after the tornado shattered its windows.

State-run media had warned residents that an approaching cold front from the north and winds from the south would create high winds, thunderstorms and heavy rainfall in the area.

"This was a huge catastrophe, the like of which I hadn't seen in all my 58 years," said Nicanor Pidal. "I have never seen such a thing; it destroyed more than a hurricane would."

(Reporting by Marc Frank; additional reporting by Sarah Marsh and Reuters TV; Editing by Alison Williams and Dan Grebler)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.