Wed, 30 Nov 2022

HAVANA, Sept. 28 (Xinhua) -- Cuba launched recovery efforts on Wednesday in the wake of Hurricane Ian's destructive path across the island's western tip.

In the westernmost province of Pinar del Rio, which was hit the hardest, two hurricane-related deaths were reported due to the collapse of a wall and an accidental electrocution when a farmer in the town of San Juan y Martinez tried to shut off a wind turbine used to pump water for irrigation, local authorities said.

Provincewide, heavy rains and strong winds triggered flash floods and road closures, swept away houses, and destroyed tobacco farms, local media said.

Ian also knocked down trees and power lines in the Isle of Youth and brought major flooding to the Cuban provinces of Matanzas, Mayabeque and Artemisa, forcing residents to evacuate.

Cuba's Institute of Meteorology said heavy rains were also reported in the mountainous regions of the central provinces of Cienfuegos and Villa Clara.

Sanitation crews in Havana began to clear over 1,000 downed trees and debris from waves that crashed onto the city's waterfront promenade.

Also Wednesday, Cuba's Electric Union began to gradually restore power nationwide after the hurricane knocked out electricity across the country.

Ian caused agricultural damage, including to plantain, tomato and cassava fields, according to state media Cubadebate.

Now strengthened into a category 4 hurricane, Ian is forecast to batter the U.S. state of Florida until Thursday.

The Atlantic hurricane season runs through Nov. 30.

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