During the night of Sunday the 27 January 2019, Strong winds and torrential rainfall battered parts of Cuba, including the capital city of Havana. Amid the stormy weather, a powerful tornado ripped through parts of the city causing significant damages. The severe weather has been blamed for at least four deaths while more than 190 others have been h8ospitalized with varying injuries, according to Reuters. The tornado has been classified as an F-3 by the Cuban Center for Meteorology, with estimated winds of 155-199 mph. The tornado is the strongest to strike Cuba in nearly 80 years, since a Category F4 tornado struck town of Bejucal in December 1940.
Other reports from the city indicated that cars were overturned, trees were uprooted, and homes were damaged by the severe weather. As of Monday afternoon, around 500,000 people were still without power and 200,000 were without water as emergency crews continued repairs following the storm. Damage to Hijas de Galicia Maternity Hospital forced patients and staff to evacuate shortly after the storm on Sunday night. Dry weather is forecast in Havana from Wednesday into Friday, aiding in cleanup and recovery efforts following the storm.
The Cuban Council of Churches is monitoring the situation and its emergency team is preparing to respond according to the results of a contextual analysis and rapid needs assessment. The Cuban Council of Churches has previous work in the affected area and is assessing the impact of the disaster to better understand the needs and vulnerabilities. A RRF will be submitted to address the most pressing needs of the affected population.