A Small Child is Killed and Three Others Injured in a Building Collapse in Old Havana

Rescuers and police in front of the building which partially collapsed in Old Havana. (EFE/Felipe Borrego)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Juan Diego Rodríguez, Havana, 17 October 2022 – A child died and two women and another child were injured in the latest building collapse in Old Havana on Monday. The four were trapped beneath the roof, which had fallen down onto them in the early hours of the morning in their home on Calle Sol, between Egido and Villegas.

A crowd which had gathered in front of the police cordon applauded, just after 9.30 am, as the emergency services rescued the girl alive, but hours later the People’s Assembly of Old Havana reported her death. “We regret the loss of life of the minor under 5 years old named Ismary Orozco Castellanos, as a result of the collapse that occurred this morning in building No. 466 in Old Havana,” read the official statement. The woman and her four year-old son had been rescued earlier and taken to hospital.

“I was saying only yesterday, that roof is going to come down, that roof is going to come down”, one neighbour tells this newspaper, adding that he had warned the residents but that they hadn’t done anything. At the same time, he explains, recreating the scene, “This roof only has three wooden joists, that’s all, and there’s one missing here, and here, and here”.

Although many families are aware that they live in collapsing homes, they avoid evacuating for fear of their belongings being stolen or other people occupying their property.

Another neighbour adds that they’d been complaining for a long time about the dangerous state of the the building but that no one had taken any notice of them. “They’re all here today, the ones we complained to. They come along now, but they never did before“, she grumbles.

Yet another neighbour agrees that the building had been “bad” for a long time, and that she’d managed to “sort out another property” to move to, but for other people there was no alternative.

In addition, the neighbors complained to the Spanish news agency Efe that the cistern that supplies water to the building has been reported for contamination for more than a month to Public Health and the state company Aguas de La Habana, and “no one has come here to solve anything”.

The collapse happened in Calle Sol, between Egido and Villegas in Old Havana. (14ymedio)

Very close to where this building collapse occurred, in Calle Luz between Curazao and Egido, a stairway fell down last June and injured an elderly man who remained trapped until the fire service arrived.

At the beginning of this month, due to the intense rain that affected the west of the country, there were 60 reported building collapses in Havana, one of which caused the deaths of two people.

Central Havana suffers just as many building collapses, or partial collapses, as Old Havana does, but the authorities, who invest huge amounts of money in the construction of luxury hotels, do nothing to address the problem in this zone, where precarious housing conditions threaten the lives of hundreds of families.

Translated by Ricardo Recluso


COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORKThe 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.