Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Cubans Faced Storm with Discipline and Organization
Havana, Aug 29 (ACN) Cubans in the eastern part of the island faced the passage of tropical storm Ernesto with discipline and organization; while there were no accidents or victims, material damaged is being assessed. During a televised round table discussion, held on Monday night in the presence of Cuban Vice-president Carlos Lage Davila, panelists analyzed the impact of tropical storm Ernesto and the actions taken to prevent damage during its passage. Participants agreed that the general public and authorities gave a rapid and effective response to the passage of the storm.Civil Defense official Colonel Jose Betancourt noted that 1,204 safe areas were set up for evacuees, though nearly 80 percent of those who were evacuated went to homes of their neighbors and relatives where they received material support and food. Betancourt stressed the effectiveness of measures to prevent damage to public and personal property, stored food and raw materials and other resources. A group of power generators were also activated to guarantee electricity for the production of basic services. Likewise, herds of cattle were transferred to safe locations and communications and other equipment were protected from damage.Betancourt said no accidents or fatalities were reported and he called on the people to keep abiding by preventive measures over the coming hours. He underscored the importance of the recovery stage, beginning with essential services for the population, including the reestablishing of transportation. The assessment of infrastructure damage is underway, said the Civil Defense official. Meanwhile, air and railway transportation to eastern Cuban provinces were re-established by Tuesday morning. Tropical Storm Ernesto is expected to gain intensity on its way to the US southern Florida coast, where it could arrive as a hurricane, warned Cuban weather expert Jose Rubiera. On its passage through the western Cuban provinces, Ernesto left rainfall accumulation of more than 100 millimetres, resulting in floods in local areas - particularly in Guantanamo province. Heavy seas, high tides and floods caused by rains could still be consequences of Ernesto along Cuban coasts, said Rubiera. The meteorologist said some atmospheric conditions have limited the development of storms in June, July and August, though only five storms have thus far formed in the western Atlantic. He warned though that September and October are the most dangerous stage of the hurricane season in this part of the world. However, he Tropical storm Ernesto reportedly left at least one death in Haiti while thousands were evacuated in the Dominican Republic.


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