Hurricane devastates Cuba's tobacco industry
mchawk | September 1, 2008 at 03:52 amby
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Winds of 140mph crashed into the western edge of the Caribbean island where much of the country's vital tobacco crop is grown, toppling telegraph poles and ripping off tin roofs.
Approximately 250,000 Cubans had been evacuated before Gustav crashed into Cuba's Isla de la Juventud before hitting the mainland further north at Pinar del Rio. Officials from the Cuban government said no one had been killed by the storm but many people had been injured.
Most Cubans yesterday felt they had emerged relatively unscathed from a storm which has killed more than 80 people since it first hit Jamaica early last week.
The eye of the storm crossed over the Pinar del Rio region, close to the community of Los Palacios, bringing down scores of electricity towers and flattening hundreds of houses. The region had been evacuated long before the storm made landfall.
In Pinar del Rio, the western tobacco-producing region, highways were blocked by fallen trees and downed power lines, and all public transportation ground to a halt.
Wind and rains damaged banana plantations and other crops in Havana province, the capital’s bread basket.
Damage to recently harvested tobacco in Pinar del Rio was still being tallied.