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Swiss to be repatriated from Caribbean coast

At least eight people have been killed by Hurricane Wilma in Cancún

(Keystone)

Swiss tourists stranded in Mexico by Hurricane Wilma are to begin repatriation flights home on Wednesday.

More than 300 Swiss have taken shelter on the Yucatán peninsula and were safe, said tour operators.

The Swiss tourists would have been staying in the hotel shelters. An aeroplane for tour operators Tui, Kuoni and Hotelplan is due to arrive by Wednesday.

However, it was reported on Sunday that the airport at Cancún was still closed after torrential rain and wild winds lashed the Caribbean resorts. The aeroplane will land at an airport in the west of the province instead, it was reported.

At least eight people have been killed by the storm and thousands of homes have been smashed in Mexico.

Soldiers have been handing out food packages in Cancún where luxury beachfront hotels have been cut off by water since Friday.

An estimated 30,000 tourists have weathered the storm in shelters.

Heading for Florida

Hurricane Wilma went on to Florida on Sunday after devastating Mexico's holiday resorts with flood water. By Tuesday the hurricane had killed at least six people in the state.

Weather experts said the storm lost some of its punch over land and its winds dropped to around 160kmh, but it is expected to pick up speed and power.

Hurricane Wilma is set to swipe western Cuba and hit the Florida Keys by Monday.

The authorities ordered the evacuation of about 500,000 people in Cuba.

Mudslides caused by Wilma killed at least 13 people in Haiti and Jamaica last week.

This year's hurricane season has spawned three of the fiercest storms on record.

swissinfo with agencies

Key facts

Wilma is the 21st hurricane to hit the Atlantic Ocean region this season – the highest number on record.
The storm is heading for Cuba and Florida after devastating the Mexican Yucatán peninsula.
Hundreds of thousands of people have been evacuated in Cuba and on Florida's coast.

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