A rare tornado ripped through a number of working class districts of Havana late Sunday night, leaving at least three dead and scores injured, state-run media and Cuba’s president said.
This was the first twister to hit the Cuban capital in decades and was described by the daily of the ruling Communist Party as an “extraordinary” event.
President Miguel Diaz-Canel tweeted that three people had been killed and more than 170 injured as he toured one of the hardest-hit districts, confirming photos and videos of the damage posted on social media.
“We are touring areas affected by the atmospheric phenomenon of great intensity. The damage is severe and up to now we regret the loss of three lives and we are attending to 172 injured,” Diaz-Canel said.
State-run media had warned residents in western Cuba that an approaching cold front from the north and winds from the south would create high winds, thunderstorms and heavy rainfall in the area.
“Those of the island accustomed to these warnings did not suspect the magnitude of what was coming,” the Communist Party daily Granma said.
Pictures of destroyed housing, cars and small trucks turned upside down, flooded and rubble strewn streets were posted on Twitter under the hash tag #Havana #tornado, along with a shot of the huge twister touching down in the city.
The reports of deaths and injuries were preliminary as rescue workers combed through damaged buildings in the blacked-out neighborhoods where much of the housing is dilapidated.