The powerful hurricane Irma, category 5, the maximum, is in the north of the Dominican Republic, where it is causing heavy rains and winds, after leaving Puerto Rico.
The eye of Hurricane Irma moves at 26 kilometers per hour to the northwest of the Dominican Republic and is 155 kilometers from Punta Cana, according to the latest report from the National Hurricane Center.
A total of 17 provinces, including Santo Domingo, the capital, are on red alert (maximum), 12 on yellow alert (intermediate) and three on green (minimum), while in Haiti the red alert was declared throughout country.
Cuba begins the evacuation of tourists before the near threat of Irma
Cuba has begun the evacuation of more than 36,000 foreign tourists who are currently on vacation at leisure poles located on the north and east coast, where there is the greatest threat of the dangerous hurricane Irma, which will begin to feel on the island on Friday.
In total, more than 51,000 foreign tourists are on the Caribbean island at this time, as it was known at a meeting of the Defense Council of the Strategic Region of the Eastern Cuban Army, which was attended by the Minister of Tourism, Manuel Marrero, who explained the evacuation plan.
Canada, the biggest emitter of visitors to Cuba, will support since Thursday the return to that country of its tourists who are 60% of travelers staying in hotels of the tourist poles installed in the keys of the north and east of the island, official media report.
According to meteorological forecasts, the cays located to the north of the central provinces of Ciego de Ávila and Villa Clara will receive the greatest impact of the strong winds and intense rains of Irma, that in its passage by the surrounding seas also is predicted that it provokes penetrations of the sea .
Visitors from other nations will be transferred to lower-risk tourist centers or cities such as eastern Camagüey, where all those on Santa Lucia beach will be evacuated, while other facilities in the western resort of Varadero, Havana, or Trinidad and Cienfuegos, in the south center will also receive foreign travelers.
The holder of the Tourism indicated that the conditions of the private rental houses for tourists will also be checked and in case they do not offer the guarantees to resist the hurricane attack or are in places of possible floods, they will be facilitated the transfer to hotels insurance.
The measures of protection of the people housed in state hotels considered within the possible trajectory of the cyclone, also foresee the return of the Cubans housed in those enclaves to their places of origin.
The powerful Hurricane Irma drags sustained winds of 295 kilometers per hour, even with higher gusts, and remains a Category 5 cyclone, the maximum of the Saffir-Simpson scale.
The Civil Defense of the island has declared the eastern provinces “alert” and maintains the “informative” for the Sancti Spíritus and Cienfuegos power stations and the western Matanzas, while Havana and Mayabeque must remain “attentive”.
The latest meteorological bulletins place the eye of the “potentially catastrophic” Irma, the strongest hurricane recorded so far in the Atlantic, about 80 kilometers north of San Juan de Puerto Rico and a westward-westward shift with a velocity of translation of 26 km / h.