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Cablegate: Mghh01: Usint Havana Emergency Action Committee -

VZCZCXYZ0000
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHUB #0732 2511855
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 071855Z SEP 08
FM USINT HAVANA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3705
INFO RUEHMI/USOFFICE FRC FT LAUDERDALE 0967

UNCLAS HAVANA 000732

SIPDIS

STATE FOR WHA/CCA, WHA/EX
STATE FOR CA/OCS/ACS/WHA, DS/IP/WHA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ASEC AEMR AMGT CASC PREL PINR CU
SUBJECT: MGHH01: USINT HAVANA EMERGENCY ACTION COMMITTEE -
HURRICANE IKE UPDATE

1. Post's Emergency Action Committee (EAC) met at noon today to
discuss the current status of Hurricane Ike and the impact to UNINT
operations.

2. As of 11:00 a.m. Sunday, the National Hurricane Center (NHC)
reported no change in the status of Hurricane Ike. It remains a
Category Four (4) storm and should make landfall near Holguin
Province, Cuba on Sunday evening. The NHC further reported that
rain should begin falling from the outer bands in Havana on Monday
afternoon with full force winds arriving circa 2300 hours, Monday
evening. The eye of the storm is projected to pass over Havana at
approximately 0800 hours, Tuesday, September 9th. At present, the
NHC projects a likely storm surge along the northern coast of 7-10
feet given Ike's current path but added that any deviation north or
south will alter their projection. If the storm continues over
land, it's strength should diminish to a Category One (1) hurricane
by the time it reaches Havana.

3. Post Operations: USINT EAC decided to close the Section at 1400
hours on Monday and remain closed to the public through Tuesday
pending a post-storm review of local conditions. Visa and refugee
interviews will be cancelled on Wednesday, as well. Facility and
residential preparations are in full swing and will be completed by
Monday afternoon.

4. The EAC also decided to seek authorized departure approval from
the Department as one family has requested permission to leave the
island in advance of the storm. Post management is drafting that
request septel, and will advise USINT personnel that they have this
option if the Department approves the authorized departure request.
USINT residents living in lower-lying areas of Havana also have been
given the option to relocate to either an approved hotel or Post
housing in a non-flood zone.

5. The USINT Consular Section is revising their warden message and
contacting wardens via telephone and/or email regarding Ike's
projected effects and the request for authorized departure. Post
believes that the impact on American Citizen Services operations
will not be significant.

6. The International School of Havana (ISH) anticipates that Monday
will be a regular school day but added that they will reassess their
schedule based on the storm's path. (NOTE: Fifteen USINT family
members attend ISH.)

7. USINT will upgrade Post's website with information related to
Tuesday and Wednesday's closure, and the warden message/travel
advisory on Monday.

FARRAR

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