Hurricane Ike caused four deaths in Cuba, Juventud Rebelde newspaper reported. That death toll could go higher.
Cuban civil defense officials identified the four as:
Pedro Corso Soto, 76, and Ángel Sánchez Cabello, 35. Both were residents of Rancho Veloz in Corralillo municipality, Villa Clara province. They were electrocuted while trying to remove an antenna from their roof.
Pascual Villafaña Rivera, 35, a resident of Camagüey. A tree fell on his house and a wall collapsed, killing Rivera
Carmelina Diéguez Santiesteban, 74, of El Negro in Banes municipality, Holguín province. Her home collapsed, killing her.
More than 1.2 million Cubans evacuated to escape the storm, according to the International Herald Tribune, which said Cuba had been "recognized by the United Nations as a model of sophisticated civil defense planning."
But no amount of planning can fully prepare for the wrath of Mother Nature. What a tragedy for Cuba, whose people had enough problems without this disaster.
I feel for the Cubans who have lost everything. Housing was scarce before this. Now it's only going to be worse as people crowd together.
Recovery will be difficult. In the United States, it's not such a big deal to replace a refrigerator, a mattress or a television. But in Cuba, it can take years to save enough money to buy even basic appliances.