Hundreds evacuated as life-threatening storm hits in Guantanamo Bay

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NEW YORK. KAZINFORM - A ferocious hurricane packing 145-mph windsis prompting hundreds of Guantanamo Bay employees to evacuate and threatens to wreak havoc on Haiti and Jamaica, CNN reports.

Hurricane Matthew is expected to dump torrential rainfall on Jamaica and Haiti on Sunday evening before making landfall Monday.

"This rainfall will produce life-threatening flash floods and mudslides," the National Weather Service said Sunday. "Preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion."

Many Jamaicans, however, believe they can ride out the storm, putting their trust in a higher power, despite pleas from authorities to leave the threatened coast.

"I'm not afraid, I'm not going," a woman in Port Royal said. "I know if God wants it to happen, it will happen."

A direct hit on Haiti could be disastrous, with much of the country's infrastructure still weak after the 2010 earthquake that killed more than 200,000 people. Haiti is also recovering from a cholera outbreak after the quake that killed another 10,000.

"Water systems are at risk as hurricane #Matthew's approaching," physician and researcher Keddy Moise tweeted. "Months of work fighting cholera could be lost."

The storm could also be brutal for Cuba, where many houses appear too weak to withstand a hurricane, CNN's Patrick Oppmann said Sunday.

"Just driving through Santiago today, I was struck by the number of people living in housing that looks like it's hundreds of years old," Oppmann said.
"Wooden roofs, very old housing that looks like it could blow away in a heavy rainstorm -- not to mention a Category 4 storm."

In Santiago de Cuba, the island's second largest city, olive-green military trucks and an armored personnel carrier raced around to finish preparations. Santiagueros know about hurricanes. In 2012, Hurricane Sandy ripped through the city downing trees, power lines and killing 11 people in the city and surrounding provinces.

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