The Department of State warns U.S. citizens to avoid travel to Cuba due to the approach of Hurricane Irma, a storm with Category 5 winds that will begin affecting the eastern provinces of Cuba by the early morning hours of Friday, September 8. The National Hurricane Center has issued a hurricane watch for the eastern half of Cuba as well as a tropical storm warning for Cuba’s northeastern coast due to significant rainfall and wind that may result in life-threating flooding, flash flooding, mudslides, and storm surge. On September 6, the Department issued a Travel Warning for Cuba and authorized the voluntary departure of U.S. government employees and their family members due to Hurricane Irma.
U.S. citizens in the path of the storm should monitor local media as well as the National Hurricane Center and the Cuban Meteorological Institute for updates, and follow all instructions from local authorities. Visit the Department of State’s Hurricane Irma crisis page for important information, such as the operating status of U.S. embassies in the region.
Given the approaching hurricane, there is limited time available for a safe departure. We recommend U.S. citizens depart Cuba if possible and work with commercial air carriers to leave prior to the arrival of the hurricane. Airports in Santiago de Cuba, Holguin, Camaguey, Cienfuegos, and Santa Clara will be closed from Friday, September 8 through Sunday, September 10. Those unable to depart should shelter in place in a secure location, preferably on higher ground and away from the coast.
You can inform the Department of State about U.S. citizens affected by the hurricane who require emergency assistance through the following ways:
· Visit Task Force Alert and select “2017 Hurricane Irma”
· Email IrmaEmergencyUSC@state.gov and provide as much information as possible (at a minimum, please provide their full name, gender, and last known location within country, if known)
· Call us at 1-888-407-4747 (from the U.S. & Canada), +1-202-501-4444 (from Overseas)
· Contact U.S. Citizens Services Unit of the U.S. Embassy’s Consular Section by telephone at (+53) 7839-4100.
Travelers should apprise family and friends in the United States of their whereabouts, and keep in close contact with their travel agency, hotel staff, and local officials for evacuation instructions. Travelers should also secure their travel and identity documents (U.S. passport, birth certificate or other picture ID) in a safe, waterproof location, as the need to replace lost or damaged documentation could hamper or delay return to the United States.
For further information:
- Visit the U.S. Embassy Havana website for the latest messages to U.S. citizens and other information related to Embassy operations.
- See the State Department's travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Country Specific Information for Cuba.
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive the latest security updates and make it easier for the nearest U.S. Embassy to locate you in an emergency.
- Call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
- Follow the U.S. Embassy in Havana on Twitter @USEmbCuba and Facebook and the State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs on Twitter and Facebook.