HAVANA – The Cuban government has taken measures to prepare for the impact of Matthew in its eastern regions which will feel the impact of the Category 4 hurricane.
Cuban President Raul Castro arrived in the eastern city of Santiago de Cuba on Saturday to oversee the measures being taken in the six provinces where a weather alert has been declared.
A hurricane warning is in effect for the Cuban provinces of Guantanamo, Santiago de Cuba, Holguin, Granma, and Las Tunas; while a hurricane watch is in effect for the Cuban province of Camaguey.
Matthew is expected to plod north toward Cuba, where it’s expected to make landfall near Guantanamo Bay tomorrow night, after leaving Jamaica and Cuba.
“Numerous measures to protect the state’s assets, as well as human lives, are being taken in these six provinces of the eastern part of the country,” said the Civil Defense in a statement on Saturday.
Authorities have undertaken massive evacuations particularly in coastal areas while opening shelters and organizing volunteer teams to clean storm drains and gather food stocks.
Preparations are being made with the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy in 2012 in mind. That hurricane battered Santiago De Cuba, leaving significant damage, which people are still trying to repair, and killing 11 people.
Castro said that Matthew is stronger and called for better preparation to protect human lives and economic resources, said the daily Granma, the most widely read newspaper in Cuba.
“This is a hurricane for which we must be prepared twice as well as we were for Sandy. That is why I am very satisfied to see that all the necessary measures have been adopted,” he said.