TAMPA (FOX 13) - Tampa residents with family in Cuba say Matthew packs a brutal punch.
The Town of Baracoa simply had no chance against the category 4 hurricane.
"Yesterday [I] was fearful, today that realization of fear became a fact when [I] talked to [my] family and realized there's nothing there," said Tampa resident Yenisel Borges, through a translator.
Borges left her native Cuba eight months ago, only to see much of her hometown destroyed from afar.
Her family survived, but not their belongings.
"The house of [my] grandmother is totally destroyed, the house of [my] sister is partially destroyed, the roof is missing, most of [my] family members' houses are damaged beyond recognition," said Borges.
The devastation also reached Guantanamo, where Tyler Burton of Trinity helps run a mission for the methodist church.
"We installed water purification systems in and around Guantanamo," said Burton.
Information came in slowly, as most communication networks are down. Several of the smaller churches were damaged. Many people took shelter in the larger better-constructed ones to hide from Matthew.
"You think of people, more than you think of buildings," he said. "We were scared and disheartened."
With so many Tampa connections, Borges is hoping donations will be sent to the nation in need. She also says Floridians in the storm's path should take note of the searing images.
"The hurricane is a monster. It is a monster to live in it. It's a monster to think about it," said Borges. "Her family said there is a monster around them and everything is devastated."
The Red Cross has already mobilized to provide water and help shelter people. So far, no deaths have been reported in Cuba.