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Havana’s Luyano neighbourhood fell in the tornado’s path

Three people are dead and more than 170 injured after a rare tornado ripped through Cuba’s capital, Havana.

The governing communist party described the powerful twister, the first to hit the city in decades, as an “extraordinary” event.

President Miguel Diaz-Canel met emergency crews on the streets before dawn on Monday, and tweeted that the damage was “severe”.

Pictures posted on Twitter showed homes destroyed and trucks overturned.

The tornado hit a number of poorer districts late on Sunday night with wind speeds of up to 100km/hr (60 mph), uprooting trees and cutting electrical power.

Staff at the Hijas de Galicia maternity hospital had to evacuate due to building damage.

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AFP/Getty Images

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Cuban firefighters help move a mother and her baby to safety

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AFP/Getty Images

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Cars, power lines and buildings were all hit by the twister’s impact

Photographers for the AFP news agency said parts of a balcony had been torn off one building and lay blocking the street in the Luyano neighborhood.

“We are touring areas affected by the atmospheric phenomenon of great intensity. The damage is severe and up to now we regret the loss of three lives and we are attending to 172 injured,” Mr Diaz-Canel said on Twitter.

Cuba’s state media had forecast high winds and thunderstorm conditions in the west of the country, caused by a cold front from the north and gusts from the south.

“Those of the island accustomed to these warnings did not suspect the magnitude of what was coming,” state-run newspaper Granma said.

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