Latin America & Caribbean

Havana tornado: Cuba's capital hit by rare twister

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionIt was the first tornado to hit Havana in decades

Three people are dead and more than 172 injured after a rare tornado ripped through Cuba's capital, Havana.

With wind speeds of up to 100km/hr (60 mph), the first tornado to hit the city in decades uprooted trees and cut power in poor areas late on Sunday.

President Miguel Diaz-Canel met emergency crews on the streets before dawn on Monday, and tweeted that the damage was "severe".

Pictures posted on Twitter showed homes destroyed and trucks overturned.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Restoration efforts have already begun in the storm's aftermath, according to President Diaz-Canel

Staff at the Hijas de Galicia maternity hospital had to evacuate.

Photographers for the AFP news agency said parts of a balcony had been torn off one building in the Luyano neighborhood.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption The twister was Havana's first in more than a decade
Image copyright EPA
Image caption Cars, power lines and buildings were all hit by the twister's impact

Resident Julio Menendez, 33, told AFP news agency: "We heard a noise like an airplane falling out of the sky. The first thing I did was go hug my daughters."

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Winds of more than 100km/h damaged homes in Cuba's capital Havana, as well as rural areas

President Miguel Diaz-Canel tweeted: "We are touring areas affected by the atmospheric phenomenon of great intensity."

He added that "several brigades [are] already working on the restoration."

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Extensive damage was caused by falling debris during the storm

Cuba's state media had forecast high winds and thunderstorms in the west of the country.

"Those of the island accustomed to these warnings did not suspect the magnitude of what was coming," state-run newspaper Granma said.

Related Topics