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At least three dead as torrential rains flood Havana

Yamil Lage, AFP

Three people died after torrential rains and high winds damaged more than two dozen buildings, caused power outages and brought racing floodwaters to parts of Havana, local media reported Thursday.

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The capital was hit Wednesday afternoon by severe thunderstorms with winds of up to 98 kilometres (61 miles) per hour, the state-run Granma newspaper reported.

Cuba's civil defence command said the victims included a 77-year-old woman who drowned in floods that swept through parts of Old Havana.

The newspaper also said a 23-year-old man was electrocuted by a falling powerline. Havana television news also reported the death of a 43-year-old lawyer.

Parts of the city faced electricity outages, the state electric power company said, after the powerful storms toppled trees and tore away rooftops.

Three buildings collapsed and 24 other structures also suffered damage, Granma reported.

Building collapses are not uncommon in Old Havana, where edifices are densely inhabited and in poor condition.

An estimated 10,000 people were forced to leave their homes and take shelter with family or friends, or at the three shelters opened in the city to provide temporary housing following the storms, the civil defence agency reported.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

Parts of Havana inundated by floodwaters
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