Hurricane Paloma ripped into the southern coast of Camaguey province at Santa Cruz del Sur on Saturday evening and in its trail left hundreds of homes totally destroyed and many more damaged.

No casualties have thus far been reported as massive evacuations safeguarded the population and 180,000 of the 240,000 people who were directed to shelters in Cuba’s Camagüey Province prior to Paloma’s arrival have returned home.

Currently, only 59,000 people remain in shelters; with 10,550 of them in government shelters, and the rest is staying at the houses of relatives and neighbors. They will have to wait until the water level of rivers and dams lowers.

Some 400 families from the La Playa neighborhood who lost their houses are now sheltered in Santa Cruz. Another 1,500 members of those families are currently staying at university facilities in Camagüey.

Julio César García, president of the provincial Defense Council, said the priority of recovery work underway since the passing of Hurricane Ike two months ago is now the municipality of Santa Cruz del Sur.

García ordered the heads of commissions and organizations to give special attention to this region, where the impact of the storm had devastating effects on houses and property.

On Sunday, the General Staff of the Civil Defense Council set in motion recovery phase actions for the municipalities of Santa Cruz del Sur, Najasa and Guáimaro.