Cuba Headlines

Cuba News, Breaking News, Articles and Daily Information

Ike Hits Northeast Cuba May Head Toward Gulf Oil Installations
The system weakened to Category 2 on the five-step Saffir- Simpson scale of intensity, with sustained winds of 165 kilometers (105 miles) per hour, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said on its Web site at 5 a.m. Miami time. The eye was about 65 kilometers (40 miles) east-southeast of Camaguey after making landfall near Punto de Sama late yesterday. Ike was moving west at 24 kph and is forecast to emerge into the Gulf tomorrow.

Ike killed 47 people in Haiti before forcing the evacuation of more than 800,000 people in Cuba, Agence France-Presse reported. Both nations were recovering from Hurricane Gustav. The hurricane center's five-day track for Ike shows the system moving toward the Louisiana-Texas border, home to oil and gas platforms and refineries. Crude oil rose from a five-month low as producers delayed resuming operations that were stalled by Gustav.

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal declared a state of emergency yesterday in preparation for Hurricane Ike.

``Hurricane Ike may impact the coastal parishes of Louisiana with hurricane strength winds, wave surges, high tides, torrential rain and tornado activity,'' Jindal said in a statement on the state's Web site. ``The storm may make landfall on the Louisiana coast on or about Sept. 13, 2008, with the expectation that hurricane-force winds will reach the Louisiana coast prior to landfall.''

Ike is expected to weaken as it crosses Cuba, the center in Miami said.


The storm may dump as much as 51 centimeters (20 inches) of rain on parts of Cuba, the center said. ``These rains are likely to cause life-threatening flash floods and mud slides over mountainous terrain,'' the center said.

Gustav destroyed western Cuba's main crops, bananas, citrus, avocadoes and corn, the official Granma news service said. Agriculture was further hit as hundreds of thousands of farm animals were killed, Granma said.

Ike brought more rain to Haiti, which was hit by Hurricane Gustav and Tropical Storm Fay last month before Hanna swept through last week.

``The rains from Ike have made it even more difficult for aid workers to get into some of the worst-flooded areas,'' Wesley Charles, the national director of World Vision in Haiti, said in an e-mailed statement. ``People are becoming increasingly desperate.''

Turks and Caicos

In nearby Grand Turk and North Caicos Islands, initial reports show 80 percent of homes suffered damage from Ike, according to Risk Management Solutions Inc., which quantifies risk for insurance companies.

``A number of houses lost their roofs, as well as a prison,'' said Stephen Russell, commander of the National Emergency Management Agency in Nassau, the Bahamas. ``On Great Inagua, many homes also lost roofs and all phone lines are down.''

The British naval vessel HMS Iron Duke was dispatched to assist in relief efforts in the Turks and Caicos Islands, a U.K. overseas territory, the British Broadcasting Corp. reported, citing the ship's captain.

The death toll from the four storms has risen to at least 600 in Haiti, AFP said. As many as 600,000 people may need assistance in Haiti, the United Nations humanitarian affairs chief John Holmes said.

Cuba yesterday urged the U.S. to ease its trade embargo and open private credit lines for food imports into the island in the wake of Gustav, AFP reported.

Florida Emergency

President George W. Bush yesterday declared a state of emergency for Florida, authorizing at least $5 million in aid and the help of federal disaster officials, the White House said. Officials yesterday urged the 80,000 residents of the Keys to leave for the mainland.

``I haven't evacuated in 15 years'' David Black, 47, a clerk at the Heron House hotel in Key West, said in a phone interview yesterday. ``It's less trouble to just weather the hurricane and if you go to Miami or Orlando, you can get hit by the storm you're running from.''

Computer models show Ike reaching the Gulf's center midweek, then heading south of Louisiana and moving toward Texas. The Gulf is home to more than a quarter of U.S. oil production.

Crude oil for October delivery rose as much as $2.89, or 2.7 percent, to $109.12 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract was at $107.57 at 10:05 a.m. London time. Oil dropped 8 percent last week as Hurricane Gustav passed the Gulf of Mexico.

Oil Workers Evacuated

Energy producers reported that personnel from 10 rigs and 202 production platforms have been evacuated, the Minerals Management Service said yesterday on its Web site. There are about 717 manned production platforms in the Gulf of Mexico.

Most energy output in the Gulf has been halted since Hurricane Gustav ripped through the area and made landfall in Louisiana on Sept. 1.

Officials in Florida's Monroe County, where the Keys are located, urged tourists to leave the islands yesterday, Chuck Mulligan, a spokesman with the Tallahassee-based state Division of Emergency Management, said yesterday.

Officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency told reporters in Washington yesterday they had positioned supplies of food and water in the Gulf states and are ready to help.

Far to the east of Ike, the remnants of Tropical Storm Josephine produced showers and thunderstorms and had a low potential to regenerate into a cyclone, the hurricane center said


Related News