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Hurricane Ike flattened and swamped 740 000 acres of Cuban sugar cane

Cuba's top sugar reporter, Juan Varela, citing a Sugar Ministry report, said on Radio Progreso that as of Friday 476,000 acres of cane were reported flattened and 267,000 acres were under varying amounts of water.

Varela said hundreds of buildings, from mills to warehouses, were damaged, particularly their roofs.

Cuba harvested 815,000 acres of cane during the 2008 harvest, producing almost 1.5 million tonnes of raw sugar.

There are 1.7 million acres devoted to sugar cane in the country.

"At least 115 industrial facilities were damaged, I am referring to mills and factories in the sector, and especially roofs, and 150 railway facilities and 132 warehouses," Varela said.

"Much of the flattened cane is salvageable, though yields will suffer," Varela said, adding water would have to be drained quickly from plantations or cane would be lost.

The Sugar Ministry also reported at least 430 miles of plantation roads were washed out and 14 rail and highway bridges linking plantations to mills.

Earlier reports had 100,000 pieces of roofing blown off sugar industry mills and other installations.


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