Santiago without power, water after Sandy



Havana: Residents of Cuba's second-largest city of Santiago remained without power or running water on Monday, four days after Hurricane Sandy made landfall as the island's deadliest storm in seven years, ripping rooftops from homes and toppling power lines.

The death toll across the Caribbean rose to 69.

Cuban authorities have not yet estimated the economic toll, but the Communist Party newspaper Granma reported there was "severe damage to housing, economic activity, fundamental public services and institutions of education, health and culture."

Sandy killed 11 people on the island including a 4-month-old boy, making it the deadliest since 2005's Hurricane Dennis, a category 5 monster that killed 16 people and did USD 2.4 billion in damage. More than 130,000 homes were damaged by Sandy, including 15,400 that were destroyed, Granma said.

The storm also is blamed for the deaths of 52 people in Haiti, two in the Bahamas, two in the Dominican Republic, one in Jamaica and one in Puerto Rico.

Sandy's center came onshore early Thursday just west of Santiago, a city of about 500,000 people in agricultural southeastern Cuba.

Today, sound trucks cruised the streets urging people to boil drinking water to prevent infectious disease. Soldiers worked to remove rubble and downed trees from the streets. Authorities have set up radios and TVs in public spaces to keep people up to date on relief efforts, distributed chlorine to sterilize water and prioritized electrical service to strategic uses such as hospitals and bakeries.

PTI