By Sabeeha Dhillon
The Caribbean storm known as Hurricane Matthew, one the most damaging storms seen since Hurricane Sandy, has been ravaging the Caribbean and Eastern Seaboard since last week. Cuba was preparing for the worst, and hoping for the best, taking several precautionary measures in the days leading up to landfall of hurricane Matthew. People were stowing away their belongings, stripping roof tiles, as well as standing in line at local food stores to stock up in case the stores were hit in the hurricane. Firewood and oil were also at the top of the list in case the electricity was cut in their areas. Hurricane Matthew made its presence known in Cuba shortly after it’s devastating effects in Haiti, where it left over 1000 people dead and many more wounded.
On Wednesday Oct 5th, the storm reached the city of Baracoa, Cuba where it destroyed entire swaths of land, leaving hundreds injured and homeless. The Cuban media stated that the south eastern city of Santiago de Cuba (the second largest in the country), was not badly hit despite some damage.
Shortly after hitting Cuba, on Oct 7th the hurricane reached the Florida coast. Daytona Beach was impacted the worst with winds exceeding 100mph. Alongside the coast, there was even a new inlet created from the brutality of the storm. The massive waves crashing up along the shore had Route A1A along the coast completely covered in sand. The Storm surge then started threatening Jacksonville as well as St. Augustine, where 20 people were stuck inside a bed and breakfast. After the large impact the storm is having all across the coast, millions along the south east are being told to evacuate their homes from Florida, Georgia, and South & North Carolina. The storm should start to diminish within the next few days, however it is still making it’s way through the south east seaboard.
There is no word yet as to how this natural disaster will effect the tobacco fields in Cuba, but early reports appear positive. Cigar manufacturers based out of Florida were mostly shut down last week during the worst of Matthew, but appears everyone weathered the storm without significant loss or injury.