Dozens left dead in Caribbean as Hurricane Dennis moves toward U.S.

Saturday, July 9, 2005

After scouring the Caribbean islands, Hurricane Dennis moved on toward the U.S. Gulf coast but not before its deadly fury was unleashed upon the region's many island nations.

The fury of Dennis overnight wracked the area with torrential flood, causing rains, dangerous rip tides, tidal swells, and winds up to 175 miles per hour. According to reports from humanitarian aid organizations, at least 10 died in Cuba and 22 in Haiti. As of 9 July 2005 18:06 (UTC), reports of dead and injured from other Caribbean countries had not been reported.

Cuba, which has a national emergency response program in the event of Hurricanes, evacuated 660,000 people from the eastern part of the island, which was considered to be the most vulnerable part of the country. But Saturday morning, president Fidel Castro confirms in a national broadcast that at least 10 Cubans died as a result of the storm. Dennis slammed into Cuba's southern coastal province of Cienfuegos Friday afternoon with Category 4 force winds. It emerged on the north side of Cuba considerably weakened to Category 1.

By clicking the image, a larger picture shows the key code that recorded the storms changes in intensity. CMISS Jul 8/2100Z

In nearby Jamaica, although the island was spared the full force of Dennis, rains and tidal swells caused widespread flooding in 28 communities. Hundreds of families faced a weekend camped out in emergency shelters as health officials inspected flood areas for safety.