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Cuba without electricity after hurricane hammers power grid

A classic American car passes utility poles on a street
A classic American car drives past utility poles tilted by Hurricane Ian in Pinar del Rio, Cuba, Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2022. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)
(Ramon Espinosa / Associated Press)

Hurricane Ian knocked out power across all of Cuba and devastated some of the country’s most important tobacco farms Tuesday when it slammed into the island’s western tip as a major hurricane.

Cuba’s Electric Union said in a statement that work is being done to gradually restore service to the country’s 11 million people between Tuesday night and Wednesday morning. Power was initially knocked out in Cuba’s western provinces, but subsequently the entire grid collapsed.

Ian made landfall as a Category 3 hurricane early Tuesday on the island’s west coast. It devastated Pinar del Río province, where much of the tobacco used to make Cuba’s iconic cigars is grown.

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Tens of thousands of people were evacuated and others fled the area ahead of Ian, which caused flooding, damaged houses and felled trees. Authorities are still assessing the damage, although no victims have been reported so far.

Ian has made landfall in western Cuba as a major hurricane, knocking out power to the entire country of 11 million people. It is likely to strengthen before hitting Florida’s western coast.

Ian’s winds damaged one of Cuba’s most important tobacco farms in La Robaina.

“It was apocalyptic, a real disaster,” Hirochi Robaina, owner of the farm that bears his name and that his grandfather made known internationally, posted on social media. He published photos showing farm buildings in rubble, overturned carts and wood scattered everywhere.

State media reported that Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel has visited the region hit hardest by the hurricane.


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