Page last updated at 07:10 GMT, Monday, 8 September 2008 08:10 UK

Havana prepares for the worst

The sky above Havana on 7 September
There are fears Havana could see its worst flooding in years

The Cuban capital Havana is nervously awaiting the arrival of Hurricane Ike as it moves destructively along the island's east coast. The BBC's Michael Voss, in Havana, told BBC radio that people there are preparing for the worst.

Havana is still waiting for Ike to come, and it could be at least another 24 hours before it gets here.

Cuba is about 1,000km [620 miles] long and Ike has struck at the eastern end of the island, the other end from the capital.

It hit the province of Holguin which has a tourist resort called Guadalavaca. All the tourists there have been evacuated.

State television has shown pictures of giant waves breaking over sea walls, waves as high as apartment blocks, and it is reporting that homes have been damaged.

Even at Category Three, Ike is still considered to be a major hurricane, which means it can be incredibly destructive.

The path that Ike is taking, coming along the coast, makes it one of the most dangerous for the capital Havana.

It is not only the high winds that could destroy some really flimsy 19th-Century housing apart from the historic old town.

With the circular winds, you are going to get the storm surges coming over the wall and flooding Havana as well.

It was very badly flooded by Hurricane Denis in 2005 and they are fearing it could be as bad, if not worse, this time.

People here have been queuing up to buy bread.

They are boarding up windows, making sure that everything is ready, clearing the streets, getting cars moved away from the most vulnerable areas.

We are predicting that come daybreak on Monday evacuations will begin in the capital.


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