Cuba's Civil Defense has reported 10 casualties after Hurricane Irma ravished the island, while Cuban President Raul Castro released a statement emphasizing the need for organization to recover from the storm.
The deaths occurred in the provinces of Matanzas, Camagueuy, Ciego de Avila and Havana, according to Cubadebate. The causes of death included electrocution, fallen electric cables, collapsed buildings, among others.
The president noted that due to the sheer size of the tropical storm, “practically no territory was spared its effects,” adding that “homes, electrical systems and the agricultural sector” have all been affected, including tourist areas.
He emphasized that the country had to move forward with the arduous work of rebuilding what the hurricane's wind and rain destroyed.
"In these difficult circumstances, the unity of the Cuban people, the solidarity among neighbors, the discipline around the orientation issued by the National General Staff of Civil Defense and the Defense Councils at all levels, the professionalism of the Institute of Meteorology specialists, the immediacy of our media and journalists, the support of mass organizations, as well as the cohesion of the governing bodies of the National Defense Council have prevailed," he said.
Described by meteorologists as one of the most powerful hurricanes to hit the Caribbean in a century, Hurricane Irma, to date, has caused 28 casualties and left a path of widespread destruction on several northeastern Caribbean Islands, especially Barbuda.
Despite internal devastation, Cuba has dispatched 771 physicians to several Caribbean islands in the wake of Irma's destruction. Dr. Regla Angulo Pardo, director of Cuba’s Central Unit of Medical Cooperation, said, “Measures have been taken to preserve the lives of our 771 employees, and logistic assurances have been implemented.”
Meanwhile, the governments of Venezuela, Ecuador, Panama and El Salvador have offered the Cuban government humanitarian support to help the Caribbean island recover.
Latest reports indicate that the storm has been downgraded from a Category 3 to 1. However, it was still packing maximum sustained winds of 85 mph. The system continues to lash the eastern coast of the United States.