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October 25 2012 5 25 /10 /October /2012 09:11

Sandy hits Cuba as category two hurricane

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Waves, brought by Hurricane Sandy, crash on a house in the Caribbean Terrace neighbourhood in eastern Kingston, Jamaica (AP/Collin Reid)

Waves, brought by Hurricane Sandy, crash on a house in the Caribbean Terrace neighbourhood in eastern Kingston, Jamaica (AP/Collin Reid)

The National Hurricane Center predicted the storm would further strengthen in the coming hours (AFP)

 

Jamaican journalist Basilia Barnaby says there are fears that some people remain trapped

Sandy has strengthened into a strong category two hurricane as it makes landfall in south-east Cuba.

The hurricane was carrying maximum sustained winds of 110 mph (175 km/h) as it hit land just west of Santiago de Cuba, said the US-based National Hurricane Center (NHC).

 

On Wednesday, one man was killed as Sandy swept over Jamaica.

 

A hurricane watch is in place in the Bahamas, and Florida has been placed on tropical storm watch.

The NHC said wind gusts of up to to 114 mph had been reported in Santiago de Cuba.

 

It warned the hurricane was bringing heavy rain which could "produce life-threatening flash floods and mudslides, especially in areas of mountainous terrain".

 

Local officials in Cuba said about 1,700 people had been evacuated as a precaution.

 

"We cannot put a single human life in danger. We must evacuate people in areas we know are likely to be flooded, without losing time," defence official Lazaro Esposito told local media.

 

Map

In Jamaica, more than 1,000 people sought refuge in shelters, with residents reporting widespread power outages, flooded streets and damages to buildings.

 

The authorities said one person, an elderly man, died when he was crushed by falling boulders as he tried to reach his home.

 

A 48-hour curfew has been imposed in all major towns, though some looting has been reported.

 

The country's sole energy provider, the Jamaica Public Service Company, said earlier that 70% of its customers were without electricity.

 

Are you in the path of Hurricane Sandy or have you already been affected by it? You can send us your experiences using the form below.

 

Send your pictures and videos to yourpics@bbc.co.uk or text them to 61124 (UK) or +44 7624 800 100 (International). If you have a large file you can upload here.

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