14ymedio, via EFE, Havana, 6 June 2018 — Cuba reported this Wednesday the death of one of the two people who disappeared in the intense rains of last week, and 8 deaths were added to the previous total. The rains also damaged 9,972 homes, of which 486 were total collapses, according to information provided in a meeting led by Cuban president Miguel Diaz-Canel.
With the passage of subtropical storm Alberto, which caused serious flooding and left 115 communities in the eastern and central part of the Island completely cut off, the additional deaths included seven men and one woman died in the provinces of Pinar del Río, Matanzas, Sancti Spiritus, Villa Clara and Ciego de Ávila, according to official reports.
Last Saturday, initial reports from the General Staff of Civil Defense included a missing a 17-year-old from Villa Clara who might have been swept away by the Arimao River, and a 51-year-old man missing in Chambas, Ciego of Ávila. Both provinces are in the center of the country.
The state newspaper Granma did not specify today in its report of the meeting — held on Monday — which of the two is the now known to have died.
Díaz-Canel asked the interior minister, Vice Admiral Julio César Gandarilla, to carry out “a detailed analysis, case by case, to determine the causes that caused those regrettable events,” Granma noted.
The Cuban president said, “there are acts of social indiscipline and recklessness” despite “the constant calls to order” to the population by the authorities of the island, which issues warnings before, during and after the passage of meteorological phenomena.
Diaz-Canel also insisted “that the country should remain alert as intense rains have been predicted in the coming days, for which they must be prepared.”
Due to the storm, 62,000 people were evacuated in the western and central parts of the Island.
Preliminary reports put the homes affected by the rains at 9,972 — of which 486 were totally demolished — according to the Minister of Construction, René Mesa, who assured that they have already allocated resources to compensate for the damages.
In Cuba’s central zone some 700 kilometers of roads were damaged, most of them flooded, so that even today nine places in the Sancti Spiritus province remain isolated.
The “most difficult scenario,” according to the official report, is access to the community of Zaza del Medio, the bridge to which was partially destroyed by the flood waters of the Zaza River.
Due to heavy rainfall, Cuba lost 1,500 hectares of beans, while some 10,000 hectares of other food crops were affected.
“At present, everything is being harvested and taken directly to the markets,” said the Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Julio García.
There is also “intensive” work underway to minimize possible losses affecting about 5,000 hectares of rice that continues under water in the western province of Pinar del Río. In addition, 600 tons of rice under water in Ciego de Avila cannot be harvested.
In that same territory, where about 70% of the tobacco harvested on the island is produced, more than 150 hectares of the leaf have been lost, which serves as raw material for the famous Cuban cigars whose export is an important source of hard currency for the country’s coffers.
During the meeting it was also stated that the epidemiological situation on the island “is under control” and “so far no outbreak of disease has occurred,” said Health Minister Roberto Morales.
The intense rains of storm Alberto have filled Cuba’s dams, where some 5 million cubic meters of water are stored, a situation that contrasts with last year, in which the island experienced one of the worst droughts in the last 110 years.
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