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"Since the [1990s] there has been a very strong management system in place for the old Havana area, and a lot has been restored since then.

"There is still a lot of fabric, a lot of architecture, a lot of housing that is in a fragile state, so any impact by a hurricane, be it wind or rain, is a great concern to everybody," he told the BBC.

Among those evacuated from Cuba before the arrival of Ike were 15,000 tourists.

North of Cuba, in the Florida Keys, authorities called off an evacuation order as it appeared the storm would pass to the south.

But residents who had left the string of islands were urged to stay away until Wednesday, until it was clear which way Ike was heading.

Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal declared a state of emergency and warned coastal residents to be prepared to move inland for the second time in 10 days.

But the NHC said it was still too early to tell which direction Ike would move in once it entered the Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday night.

Haitian appeal

Haiti, the poorest country in the Western hemisphere, has endured the onslaught of four tropical storms in a three-week period, causing 331 deaths.

Heavy rains and flooding sparked by the outer bands of Hurricane Ike killed at least 61 people in Cabaret, to the north of the capital Port-au-Prince.

"The whole village is flooded," said local civil protection official Moise Jean-Pierre. "The death toll could go higher."

The destruction in Haiti has been described as catastrophic.

The newly installed Prime Minister, Michele Pierre Louis, has launched a fresh appeal for international aid.

She called in particular for helicopters to bring those left stranded by the floods to safety.

Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7603319.stm

5- Haiti - Aid groups struggle after deady storms in Haiti

09 – 09 – 08

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti: United Nations humanitarian agencies and other groups are struggling to help Haiti's flood victims after storms that killed hundreds of people and isolated broad swaths of the impoverished Caribbean country. The deputy director for the World Food Program in Haiti, Romain Sirois, said on Monday efforts to feed several hundred thousand people made homeless by the tropical cyclones could still fall tragically short.

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