CUBAN President Raul Castro vowed on Monday that the country would recover from the devastation wrought by Hurricane Irma.
Mr Castro said the widespread damage from the monster storm, the strongest since records began, was still being assessed after Irma “battered our island” from Friday to Sunday.
Despite well-organised civil-defence efforts 10 people died, seven in the capital Havana, where waves topped the famous Malecon sea wall and flooded city streets.
“The days that are coming will be ones of much work, during which the strength and indestructible confidence in the revolution of Cubans will again be demonstrated,” the president said.
“This is not a time to mourn but to construct again that which the winds of Irma attempted to destroy,” in the spirit of late revolutionary leader Fidel Castro.
Mr Castro said the early reports showed a heavy impact on homes, the electrical grid, agriculture and tourist facilities.
“These have been difficult days for our people, who, in a few hours’ time, have seen what was constructed with great effort hit by a devastating hurricane.”
But, he said: “In these difficult circumstances, the unity of Cubans has prevailed.”
Agriculture Ministry command post head Fernando Velazco said the storm caused severe damage to livestock and crops, including 71,000 chickens killed and 5,000 hectares of fields flattened.
In the eastern city of Holguin, Tourism Minister Manuel Marrero echoed Mr Castro’s pledge that the industry would be back on its feet in time for high season.
He praised workers and managers for keeping more than 2,000 holidaymakers safe during the emergency.