Three killed in Havana as tornado rips through Cuba

Rare twister hits one of the capital's poorest districts leaving a deadly trail while injuring scores of people.

    A powerful tornado ripped through the Cuban capital, Havana, killing at least three people, officials have confirmed. At least 172 others were injured.

    The tornado, which hit Havana on Sunday, was classified as EF4 with winds touching 300 kilometres per hour. It is the first tornado to hit the city in decades.

    The twister uprooted trees, damaged buildings, cut power in poor areas and caused coastal flooding with heavy rains.

    Regla was the worst-hit borough in Havana. Almost all the buildings were damaged to some degree. Locals were seen clearing debris and packing personal belongings to seek refuge with their relatives and friends.

    Francisco, a local resident, said it was the first disaster he had seen in his life.

    "It was like a science fiction or thriller, it's terrible. The strong wind blew away the front door and the roof. All these buildings were damaged in a flash. I fell down by the wind as it blew the door open and pushed me onto the wall. I still feel the pain."

    The local power sector sent workers to clear away fallen trees and erect utility poles with cranes in order to resume electricity as soon as possible.

    "Now water carts have come and tents will be put up and food will be given out. Power supply will resume as electricians are repairing. The people are working together to solve this big problem," said Luis Villalobos, a local official.

    Tornadoes are not common in Cuba. The most memorable one occurred in December 1940, when a tornado swept the western town of Bejucal, causing casualties.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies