The aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in Santiago de Cuba (Photo: Reuters)
Hurricane Sandy's tear across the Caribbean left 51 people dead in Haiti, while another 15 people were still missing after the deadly storm, officials said Sunday.
The earlier toll had reached 44 dead in the Americas' poorest nation, which was socked with heavy rains, driving winds and flooding in areas where thousands are in refugee camps.
The deaths in Haiti, still recovering from a catastrophic 2010 earthquake, drove up the overall death toll from the hurricane to 66 even before it reached the United States, where forecasters have predicted devastating impacts when it crashes ashore early Tuesday.
In Cuba, among the Caribbean nations harder hit by the storm system, President Raul Castro inspected damage in the central provinces of Villa Clara and Sancti Spiritus, official state media reported Sunday.
"We have had a major hurricane, a little Flora in the center of the country," Castro was quoted as saying in state media ahead of a visit to even harder hit Santiago de Cuba, Cuba's second largest city.
Hurricane Flora was one of the deadliest to hit Cuba in the 20th century, killing about 1,200 people in 1963.