OFFICIAL VOICE OF THE COMMUNIST PARTY OF CUBA CENTRAL COMMITTEE
Photo: Girón

Matanzas.–The number of persons evacuated reached 62,000 as Irma approached the province, where heavy rain and gusts of over 100 km/h were already being experienced.

According to the Provincial Defense Council headed by Teresa Rojas Monzón, the greatest number were staying with friends and family, including many from the country's principal beach resort of Varadero.

Power was out by early afternoon and fallen trees blocked streets.

In a tour conducted by the province's principal leaders, evaluated were living conditions for evacuees in shelters, as well as those in Comandante Faustino Pérez Hospital. The group also visited Juan Gualberto Gómez International Airport, the Antonio Guiteras thermoelectric plant, and Energas projects.

By the end of the afternoon, as Irma hit the northern coast of the province hard, streets were flooded in Cárdenas and Varadero, as were areas in the community of Martí.

Rojas called for close attention to evacuees, and emphasized the importance of preparing to respond quickly once recovery efforts begin.

The latest evaluations indicate that the hurricane's impact in Matanzas may be greater than foreseen.