Church workers in Caribbean struggle to gauge Hurricane Sandy’s effects
The storm moved north of Cuba and into the Bahamas as a Category 1 hurricane the morning of Oct. 26, but downpours and high winds persisted in Cuba and on the island of Hispaniola, shared by the Dominican Republic and Haiti.
Government officials said 16 people were killed in Haiti, 11 people had died in eastern Cuba, and Jamaica and the Bahamas reported one death each from the storm.
The storm whipped winds that tore off roofs and downed power lines and brought heavy rain that flooded rural communities and city streets alike.
Church workers in those countries were struggling to assess the extent of the damage.
“It’s difficult to say how much damage there was, but it has been very bad in the eastern part of the country,” said Rosario Lo, a representative of Caritas in Havana, the Cuban capital.
Lo said tens of thousands of homes and people were affected but declined to give a firm number. She said Caritas was ready to respond with emergency provisions.
Cuban officials said it was the worst storm to hit the island since 2005 when Hurricane Dennis caused more than $2 billion in damage.
In Holguin, a province of slightly more than 1 million people in northeast Cuba, church workers said the effects of the storm were still being felt but the damage was already visible.
“It ripped off roofs of houses. There’s a lot of material damage, much more in the countryside than in the city” of Holguin, the provincial capital, said a church worker at the Holguin Diocese. [More]