Luyanó, "10 de octubre" - video by UNPACU January 28, 2019
HAVANA – Nearly 5,000 people are still displaced in Havana three days after a powerful tornado took the Cuban capital by surprise, killing four people, injuring 195 others and damaging more than 1,900 homes.
About 4,780 of the displaced people are staying with relatives and 164 are in shelters, according to official figures published Wednesday in Communist Party daily Granma.
More than 70 injured people are still receiving treatment in capital hospitals, with four of them listed in serious but stable condition.
According to initial reports, although the initial tally was 1,238 homes damaged by the tornado, which on Sunday brought winds of up to 300 km/h (186 mph) to five districts of the Cuban capital, but the count has risen now to more than 1,900 houses.
The loss of these buildings, many of which were good condition before the tornado hit, highlights the delicate housing situation in Cuba, where there is a deficit of almost 1 million units.
Three days after the tornado, the first to strike Havana in 80 years, the clearing away of rubble, cars and poles littering the streets continues with the help of hundreds of soldiers deployed to aid in the monumental task.
Dozens of volunteers are also assisting residents trying to salvage bricks and pieces of wood that can be used in reconstructing their homes.
More than 136,000 people remain without electricity, down from nearly 500,000 who were left without service on Sunday.
About 22,500 Havana residents received water in tankers due to ruptures in pipes.
President Miguel Diaz-Canel has called for accelerated government efforts to ensure that housing is made available and he asked officials responsible for finding solutions in the wake of the disaster to handle the matter with “sensitivity.”
“An organized society, a planned economy, a socialist government, will always have reserves so that no one is left homeless,” Diaz-Canel wrote Wednesday on Twitter.
On social media, while Cubans both here and abroad are praising the state’s response to the tragedy, others harshly criticized the decision to hold, as planned, the traditional huge parade to honor independence hero Jose Marti on the day after the catastrophe.
HAVANA – Thousands of Cubans are cleaning away the debris this Tuesday and recovering what is left of their homes, hit by a powerful tornado in east Havana that left four people dead and 195 injured, 12 of them seriously, as authorities make every effort to restore electricity and water in the affected areas.
Two days after the disaster, the districts of Regla, Guanabacoa, San Miguel del Padron, Diez de Octubre and Havana del Este still look blasted by the winds of up to 300 kph (185 mph), and in many places cars are still overturned, while roofs and lamp posts remain where they were blown into the streets.
Hundreds of university students and soldiers are helping residents clean up the streets and homes in the five Havana municipalities where 1,238 homes have been affected, of which 347 have had their walls and roofs blown down, according to official statistics.
The loss of these buildings, most of which had been in good condition, tightens even more the housing situation in Cuba, which has a deficit of almost 1 million homes.
Diez de Octubre, one of the areas hit hardest by the tornado, is among the most densely populated municipalities of Havana, which in turn is the most densely populated region on the island (11.1 million inhabitants).
The damage done to some communities in the Cuban capital makes them “look like they’ve been bombed,” according to Cuban army chief of staff, Gen. Alvaro Lopez Miera.
“We’ll try to work on the (affected) homes to repair them as fast as we can,” Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel told a Cabinet meeting.
According to the latest official data available, more than 200,000 Havana dwellers are still without electricity, of the almost half a million reported on Monday.
More than 90 brigades of electricians are working to restore service with the help of some 30 teams from other provinces around the island.
The Havana government has also arranged the distribution of drinking water in tanker trucks for those left homeless.
The unexpected tornado slammed the east side of the city for 16 minutes last Sunday, Jan. 27, with gusts of wind up to 300 kph and an F4 level – devastating damages – on the Fujita tornado scale (maximum F6).
Hours after the first tornado reports, Cubans on the island and expatriates filled social networks with calls for funds, clothes, footwear and imperishable food to help those affected.