Hurricane Ike threatens oilfields

Hurricane moves off Cuban coast toward US oil facilities in the Gulf of Mexico.

    Five-storey high waves smashed into Baracoa in Cuba as Hurricane Ike struck [AFP]

    Authorities in the US state of Florida called off evacuation plans after the hurricane appeared likely to miss the Florida Keys islands.

    The US National Hurricane Centre also warned that Ike could strengthen again as it headed toward the Gulf of Mexico.

    Cuba assault

    Ike in Haiti

     
     

    Ike threatens relief effort

    Ike had swept ashore in northeastern Cuba late on Sunday near Punta Lucrecia, about 820km southeast of Havana, the capital.

    Cuba's state-run television showed images of huge waves slamming into sea walls in the city of Baracoa, flooded streets, toppled trees and damaged buildings.

    Cuban weather forecasters said Ike would pass near or over Havana as it leaves the island on Tuesday.

    Authorities have begun evacuating tens of thousands of residents from crumbling apartment buildings and low-lying parts of the city.

    "Attention Havana, attention Havana. Havana is on hurricane alert. All residents must strictly follow the instructions of the civil defence," local radio stations broadcast.

    Officials said at least 1.5 million people had been evacuated from vulnerable areas in Cuba, which is also recovering from Gustav's strike last week on western provinces.

    Destruction trail

    Ike, a category three storm, had earlier ripped through the southern Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos islands, as well as Haiti.

    Officials said at least 47 people - 13 of them children - had died recently from the floods in Haiti, in addition to the 500 killed last week by Tropical Storm Hanna.

    Eighty per cent of homes in the Turks and Caicos islands were damaged by winds, although there were no reports of deaths.

    Ike has also ripped off roofs and knocked over trees and power lines in the Bahamas' southernmost island of Great Inagua.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: How does your country vote at the UN?

    Interactive: How does your country vote at the UN?

    We visualised 1.2 million votes at the UN since 1946. What do you think are the biggest issues facing the world today?

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    We dialled more than 35,000 random phone numbers to paint an accurate picture of displacement across South Sudan.

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Meet the man on a mission to take down Cambodia's timber tycoons and expose a rampant illegal cross-border trade.