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Caribbean: No Escape; Isaac Strikes

Categories: Caribbean, Cuba, Haiti, Jamaica, Citizen Media, Environment, Media & Journalism, Migration & Immigration, Politics

Despite Caribbean bloggers’ hopes that Tropical Storm Isaac would go easy on them [1], some islands are today coping with the disarray the storm has left in its path. Haiti experienced some of the worst effects from the weather system; flooding and landslides reportedly caused a few deaths [2]. Some people had to be evacuated [3].

On Twitter, under the hashtags #haiti #isaac [4], journalist @jacquiecharles [5] posted this photo [6] of damage near the airport in the capital, Port-au-Prince, while @planuk [7] posted a picture of raging flood waters near Jacmel [8]. More photos of some of the damage the storm caused in Haiti are at Blog Carel La, here [9], with videos here [10] and here [11].

About twelve hours ago, Jamaica also began to feel Isaac's presence. Facebook users were reporting heavy rainfall and strong breezes. Girl with a Purpose [12] was tracking the storm and reported that:

In relation to Jamaica: The Southern and North Eastern parishes will get showers and thunderstorms.
Rainfall of 12 inches high is expected over the next 48 hours, resulting in landslides.
Threat of a Tropical Storm Isaac developing into a hurricane, is very likely as Isaac's eye or core struggles to take form.

In an updated post [13], the blogger confirmed that…

Tropical Storm Isaac drenched Haiti last night…
Heavy winds and rains flattened Haiti's tent cities – where 350,000 Haitians have been living, since 2010's devastating earthquake.

…but in Jamaica, the effects were “mimimal”.

Blogging from Cuba, Havana Times [14] continued to watch the system's progress. In a later post [15], the blog reported:

Tropical Storm Isaac swept over eastern Cuba Sunday, bringing heavy rains and strong winds a day after hitting Haiti. It was expected to next head towards the Florida Keys.

The storm also lashed the neighboring Dominican Republic with torrential rains and winds of up to 100 km/hr before hitting Cuba.

While Cuban officials reported no major damage or casualties from the storm surge and floods in the east, residents and tourists sought safety in shelters. Crop damage can be estimated after the passing of the storm, which is still producing considerable rains over a wide area of the island.

Isaac is headed for Florida [16], where many Cuban Diaspora bloggers are monitoring its progress. One post in particular [17] took issue with The Weather Channel [18]‘s coverage of the storm in Cuba:

I was treated to some hard-hitting Weather Channel journalism from an all-inclusive resort for non-Cubans in Varadero, Cuba. The footage, that included “Cubano pool boys” bringing in and securing the lounge chairs, was riveting. You would never know its a totalitarian dictatorship that keeps 11 million citizens in virtual slavery and that those slaves live in substandard housing, much of which may be swept away by Isaac.

In an update of the same post, the blogger says:

UPDATE: It seems that this is the first time ever [19] that The Weather Channel has access to Cuba. Of course they are playing by the rules laid down by castro, inc.

Seidel added,'We picked Varadero because of meteorological reasons and are lucky because we're staying at a resort with all the creature comforts of home.’

Meteorological reasons? Really? The storm is going to hit the south eastern part of the country and rip through the middle but you're on the north coast at the world-famous Varadero beach filming pool boys?