Building Collapse in Havana: One Dead and Serious Injuries / Martha Beatriz Roque Cabello

Rosario Álvarez. 96, victim of the collapse

Rosario Álvarez. 96, victim of the collapse

Rosario Alvarez, 96, who died in the collapse, had repeatedly complained to the authorities that her home was in the process of falling down.

HAVANA, Cuba. – At 6:30 in the evening on February 7, the partial collapse of a three-story residential building at No. 5 San Carlos, between Morell and Iznago in the Santos Suarez neighborhood, 10th of October municipality in the city of Havana, caused the death of Mr. Rosario Alvarez Alvarez, age 96, who was sitting in the dining room of her apartment when the incident occurred.

The original information was provided to the Network of Community Communicators by the victim’s great granddaughter, Jessica Almeri Canal, age 14, a junior high school student, who was in another room in the house and was unharmed.

According to the source, the dining room floor of the apartment on the top floor gave way and fell on Alvarez Alvarez’s apartment and, as a result of the impact, she fell into the garage on ground floor of the building.

Álvarez Álvarez remained under the rubble for five hours before being found dead by rescuers. Her lifeless body covered with bruises was taken directly to Legal Medicine for the autopsy. The family members of the victim were doubly outraged because the official cause of death, according to the Legal Medicine authorities was a “heart attack.”

The was a wake for the body at the Santa Catalina and Juan Bruno Zayas funeral home, in the Havana neighborhood of Santos Suárez, and burial was scheduled for 4 pm on Saturday.

More serious injuries

Sitting in the room where the collapse occurred was a young woman, family of the victim, who miraculously suffered no serious injuries, and her son Diego Rodríguez Antonio Amador, age 2.

The boy suffered serious injuries to his face, knocking his eye out of its orbit and his cheekbones were operated on. As of now he is in intensive care at Juan Manuel Marquez Children’s Hospital, located on Ave. 31 and 76, Marianao, Havana, and his condition is reported as serious.

Another victim who was in the building is Bárbara Danay Canal Aramburu, whose scalp was torn off and who suffered fractures in her left arm. Canal Aramburu had emergency surgery and remains hospitalized at the Calixto Garcia Hospital, Havana, reported as serious.

Also in the room was in Mrs. Lidian Juana Quevedo Quevedo, 54, grandmother of the child, which is also at Calixto Garcia Hospital.

The Director of Calixto Garcia and the President of the municipal government, who presented himself at the Hospital were talking to the victim’s great-granddaughter — source of this information — to inquire about the situation.

We have not been able to obtain images of the disaster because the place is occupied by officials and senior military and access to the site is not allowed.

Background

On 17 January this year, Julia Estrella Aramburu, a reporter for the Network of Community Communicators, had published in Redecilla, the Network’s newsletter, a note of complaint warning that this building was in the imminent danger of collapse.

The complaint was made by the victim who is now dead, in the hopes that the authorities would stop ignoring her pleas for help and do something about it before the disaster, which happened yesterday, finally occurred.

Following is the full text of that report in Redecilla :

Partial Collapse

By: Julia Estrella Aramburo Taboas

The lady of 96, Rosario Álvarez Álvarez, living at No. 5 San Carlos Street between Morell and Iznagas, in the neighborhood of Santos Suárez, 10th of October municipality, wanted to tell us her sad story.

She is a pensioner and has repeatedly complained to the President of the government of the municipality about the condition of her, which is in danger of collapse: already there has been a collapse with the roof of one of the rooms falling in. As a result of this the neighbor on the top floor fell, but fortunately was not injured.

The answer I got last December 22 was that they would go to visit in early January to see what they could do with her case, but so far nothing has happened and the house of the the elderly lady Rosario is slowly collapsing.

8 February 2014