Hurricane Ike powers toward Cuba

September 8th, 2008 - 5:21 am ICT by IANS  

Havana, Sep 8 (IANS) The Cuban government has evacuated thousands of people from the country’s central and eastern provinces where a powerful storm is likely to hit, Spain’s EFE news agency reported Sunday.The US National Hurricane Centre (NHC) said that at 1500 GMT Sunday, Hurricane Ike was located 25 km southwest of Great Inagua Island in the Bahamas, some 205 km northeast of Guantanamo in Cuba.

A hurricane warning is in effect for the Cuban provinces of Guantanamo, Santiago de Cuba, Holguin, Las Tunas, Granma, Camaguey, Ciego de Avila, Villa Clara, Sancti Spiritus and Cienfuegos, the report said.

The government has also issued warning for the provinces of Matanzas and Havana.

Hurricane Ike, which has a maximum sustained wind speed of nearly 215 kph, is moving toward the west at around 20 kph, the NHC said.

The hurricane is expected to move through the southeastern Bahamas and likely to reach central Cuba late Monday.

Some 224,000 people have been evacuated from the Camaguey province alone, the report said.

Cuba is still trying to recover from Hurricane Gustav that hit the island nation eight days ago, affecting some 140,000 people.

The hurricane destroyed thousands of hectares of crops, damaged schools, telephone and power lines, besides other infrastructure.

The NHC said heavy showers as a result of the storm could cause flooding and mudslides in the country’s mountaneous regions.

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