by Yosley Carrero
HAVANA, Aug 27 (Xinhua) -- Hurricane Ida crashed onto Cuba's westernmost region Friday as it moved toward the Gulf of Mexico.
After making landfall on the Isle of Youth special municipality in mid-afternoon, the category 1 hurricane left fallen trees and damaged roofs.
Earlier on Friday, Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel urged people to take precautions in light of the imminent impact of Ida on the island.
"Tropical storm Ida is nearing Cuba. The western territories have prepared to confront it. I ask our people to be disciplined and responsible not to regret the loss of human lives," he said on Twitter.
Meanwhile, rainfall and sustained winds of more than 100 km per hour caused damage to agricultural crops and the national grid in the Cuban province of Pinar del Rio.
Consequently, local authorities on the island said that conditions have been set for electrical infrastructure to be repaired during the recovery phase.
"It has been raining a lot but me and my family are safe. The most important (thing) is to protect people's lives," Milagros Iglesias, resident of Pinar del Rio, told Xinhua via phone.
In addition, in Vinales, located some 180 km west of the country's capital of Havana, plantations that grow tobacco for making Cuban premium cigars were damaged by strong wind gusts.
Thousands of people living in low-lying areas were evacuated to makeshift shelters and relatives' places in line with social distancing guidelines, according to local media.
In the coastal town of La Coloma, where the island's largest fish processing plant is located, preventive measures were adopted to protect facilities and more than 60 fishing boats.
As Ida battered the country, no major damage was reported in Havana, the island's most populous city with 2 million inhabitants.
So far, no casualties have been registered in the country as a result of the hurricane.
Forecasters estimate that Ida, which formed as a tropical storm in the Caribbean on Thursday, is expected to hit the United States on Sunday.
The hurricane season in the Caribbean runs from June 1 to Nov. 30. Enditem