Waiting for Matthew: In the crosshairs of a hurricane
Recently I listened to a BBC report from John Sweeney on the horrendous situation in Syria.
He was shopping in Battersea while receiving pictures from a doctor in Aleppo showing the carnage caused by an air strike that had hit a hospital.
I remember thinking how strange it must be as a reporter to be so close, but so far from the action.
Today, I am feeling something similar.
Michelle is currently holidaying in the Cuban resort of Costa Verde.
She has enjoyed sunny beaches, swimming in the pool and all-inclusive drinks.
And is now awaiting the arrival of Hurricane Matthew, the most powerful hurricane to hit the region since 2007.
Swirling between a category 4 and 5 beast, with winds of around 140mph, it is headed straight for Jamaica and after that the east of Cuba.
The updates sent to me from Costa Verde have arrived as I’ve been walking the dog, watching Catch Up TV and cooking dinner.
Eat your heart out, John Sweeney.
Michelle tells me people were originally told to stay in the bathrooms of their rooms, having stocked up with water.
Since then, the preferred option seems to be to evacuate the resort with six other hotels lined up to take the guests.
I’m not sure why operator, Thomas Cook, hasn’t acted yet. Why stay in the resort – even if it is probably safe – when people can be moved out of the path of the hurricane.
The biggest worry, of course, is for the local Cuban people who do not have rooms which are as strong as those at the resort.
Yesterday, Michelle told me there is a “real sense of just waiting. We got a little taste this afternoon as heavy rain and wind and wow”.
Within the last hour, she sent a message saying: “”Horrible feeling as everyone waiting. Clouds are changing and wind picked up.”
And I’ve just heard that she is due to catch a coach out of there in the next three hours.
Some people, though, will be left behind as there is no longer time to get everyone out – how that situation has been allowed to develop I don’t know.
I hope everyone gets through it ok.