Int’l airport serving hurricane-battered Cuban capital reopens

Int'l airport serving hurricane-battered Cuban capital reopens 

Official workers remove with heavy machinery the debris caused by the hurricane Irma in Havana, Cuba, Sept. 12, 2017. EPA-EFE/ALEJANDRO ERNESTO

Havana, Sep 12 (efe-epa).- Normal operations resumed Tuesday at Havana’s Jose Marti International Airport after that facility had been closed for three days due to Hurricane Irma, which lashed the Cuban capital over the weekend and caused severe flooding, at least 10 deaths and major damage to the electrical grid.

A source at the airport told EFE that at least one plane had already landed, while outbound passengers also have begun checking in for their flights.

Thousands of tourists – including 5,000 Spaniards – who became stranded on the island when the powerful hurricane brought powerful winds and massive storm surge to Cuba’s northern coast are now waiting to fly home.

Also Tuesday, Cuban civil aviation authorities announced that they had reopened the airport serving the tourist resort of Varadero, a town 140 kilometers (90 miles) east of Havana where around 5,000 foreign tourists were evacuated as Irma was closing in on the island’s northeastern and north-central coast.

As of Tuesday morning, there were more than 15,000 foreign tourists in Varadero, a northwestern town that is the island’s main sun-and-sand destination, most of them waiting to board flights back home.

The Jardines del Rey airport – which is closest to the Camaguey Archipelago, where Irma made landfall Friday evening as a catastrophic Category 5 hurricane before battering Havana and other areas of the western part of the island on Saturday – suffered severe damage and it remains clear when flights will be able to resume.