Hurricane Paloma Breaking Up After Leaving Cuba

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

SANTA CRUZ DEL SUR, Cuba (AP) -- Thousands of Cubans are returning to homes along the country's southern coast to find those homes heavily damaged or destroyed.

Hurricane Paloma struck Saturday night as a Category 4 storm, sending 10-foot high waves crashing into shore. Fishing villages were devastated, with wooden houses carried away by the surge. The storm tore the roofs off factories and destroyed roads, but the government reports that no one was killed. According to state media, nearly 200,000 people were evacuated to shelters or waited out the storm with neighbors or relatives.

While most headed back to their villages today, there wasn't much to return to. One retiree cried out "Everything is gone," as she surveyed smashed chairs, a water-logged mattress and the one remaining wall of her house, now covered with seaweed.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami says what remains of Paloma is hanging off the north coast of Cuba, but it's not expected to regain intensity.

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