HAVANA – Cuba’s Cabinet met on Monday to evaluate the damage caused by a tornado that cut a destructive swath through parts of Havana, killing three people and leaving 170 injured.
“The Cuban Council of Ministers met to evaluate the effects of the tornado and rain in Havana. Steps were taken to advance the recovery,” President Miguel Diaz-Canel wrote on Twitter.
A dozen of the 172 injured people are in serious condition, the government said.
The capital districts that were most affected by Sunday night’s torrential downpours and winds of up to 100km/h (60mph) were Regla, Diez de Octubre and San Miguel del Padron, where some structures collapsed and many others suffered damage.
The storm toppled trees, traffic-lights and utility poles, flipped over vehicles and tore the roofs off of buildings.
Much of Havana lost power due to the storm.
“Several brigades are working on repairs” to the power grid, Diaz-Canel tweeted after a pre-dawn tour of the city.
The top Communist Party official in Havana, Luis Antonio Torres, said the casualty figures were still preliminary and that more bodies may be found amid the rubble of collapsed buildings.
The tornado flipped over a bus in Regla, resulting in injuries to 25 people, while patients had be evacuated from Hijas de Galicia maternity hospital in the Diez de Octubre area, he said.
Tornadoes are exceedingly rare in Cuba and Torres pointed out that the capital had not seen a tornado of the magnitude of Sunday’s in almost eight decades.
He was referring to the twister that struck the southern part of Havana on Dec. 26, 1940, which killed nearly 40 people and injured more than 400 others.
The municipal road safety commission announced the closure of numerous streets in the capital and asked drivers to “maintain discipline” in the interest of avoiding accidents.
The heavy rains and high surf likewise caused flooding overnight along the Malecon, Havana’s emblematic seaside boulevard, and other coastal areas in the capital and in the western provinces of Pinar del Rio, Mayabeque and Artemisa, according to authorities.