Cuba evacuates over 200,000 as Tropical Storm Elsa approaches

Moscow, Jul 5 (Bureau) More than 200,000 Cubans have been evacuated due to the approach of tropical storm Elsa, the Granma daily reported on Monday. The largest number of evacuees was reported in the eastern province of Holguin – 152,000 people. In the central province of Villa Clara, 54,000 residents have left their homes, while more than 8,000 had to evacuate in the eastern province of Las Tunas, according to the report.

Elsa has intensified slightly as it approached the central part of Cuba, with maximum sustained winds of 100 kilometers per hour (62 miles per hour). The tropical storm is driving showers and rains from the western province of Matanzas to the easternmost part of the island, the Cuban Institute of Meteorology (Insmet) reported. The Insmet forecast specifies that in the next 12 to 24 hours, Elsa will maintain its course with the possibility of gaining intensity before penetrating a point on the south-central coast, between the provinces of Cienfuegos and Matanzas. Three people have already been killed by the Caribbean storm — two in the Dominican Republic and one on the island of Saint Lucia.