Sunday, August 31, 2008

Cuba blasted by wrath of deadly Hurricane Gustav

HAVANA (AFP) — Hurricane Gustav tore into western Cuba plunging the region into darkness, tearing off roofs, flattening buildings and washing out roads as it raged on a deadly path toward the US Gulf Coast.

Having left a trail of destruction and at least 81 people dead in the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Jamaica, Gustav on Saturday smashed first across Cuba's Isle of Youth, with more than 200,000 residents, and then tore across mainland Cuba southwest of Havana, which has more than two million people.

Forecasters expect Gustav to hit top force and track toward the US Gulf Coast for a direct hit Monday or Tuesday as New Orleans marks three years after the Hurricane Katrina catastrophe.

New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin ordered the city emptied on Sunday in the face of what he called "the storm of the century."

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