Thu | Dec 8, 2022

Cuba begins to turn on lights after Hurricane Ian blacks out island

Published:Wednesday | September 28, 2022 | 1:09 PM
Vehicle headlights illuminate the street during a blackout triggered by Hurricane Ian in Havana, Cuba, early morning Wednesday, September 28, 2022. Hurricane Ian knocked out electricity to the entire island when it hit the island’s western tip as a major storm. (AP Photo/Ismael Francisco)

HAVANA (AP) — Cuban officials said they had begun to restore some power Wednesday after Hurricane Ian knocked out electricity to the entire island while devastating some of the country's most important tobacco farms when it hit the island's western tip as a major storm.

At least two people were reported killed.

The Energy and Mines Ministry announced it had restored energy to three regions by activating two large power plants in Felton and Nuevitas and was working to get others back online.

Lights started to flicker on in the capital, Havana, but much of the city and other parts of western Cuba remained without power on Wednesday in the wake of the major hurricane, which had advanced northward to Florida. It was the first time in memory — perhaps ever — that the whole island had lost power.

On Tuesday, Ian hit a Cuba which has been struggling with an economic crisis and has faced frequent power outages in recent months.

It made landfall as a Category 3 storm on the island's western end, devastating Pinar del Río province, where much of the tobacco used for Cuba's iconic cigars is grown.

Tens of thousands of people were evacuated and others fled the area ahead of the arrival of Ian, which caused flooding, damaged houses and toppled trees.

State media reported two deaths in the province: a woman killed by a falling wall and another by a collapsed roof.

Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel visited the affected region, telling the population, “Although the first impact is very painful, there's nothing to do but overcome the adversity.”

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