14ymedio, Havana, December 10, 2018 — A torrential downpour on Sunday afternoon caused floods in zones of Central Havana and Cerro, in Havana. Many residents of the Los Sitios neighborhood were forced to evacuate furniture, electrical appliances, and put the rest of their belongings where they would be safe faced with the advance of the waters, according to reports from residents in the area.
The most affected areas were around Calles Subirana, Árbol Seco, and the vicinity of Santo Tomás. Strong floods were also reported on roads like Amenidad and the vicinity of Manglar, in addition to the rest of the other low zones close to the sports area of Pontón.
“There wasn’t time for anything, the water started to rise suddenly and when we realized it, it was already up to our knees,” Niuris María, a resident of Calle Subirana who had to evacuate along with her two children to the house of some neighbors who live in a high area, recounted via telephone. “We were able to lift the refrigerator onto a table, but our mattresses have gotten wet,” she laments.
When night fell in the neighborhood, the residents of the flooded zones were still bringing furniture and other belongings outside to save them from the waters. “No one has come around here yet and the downpour stopped two hours ago,” complained a young man who along with various friends published photos of the floods on social networks.
“No patrol car, no rescue, nothing,” lamented another young man in a video on YouTube which showed the street behind him covered by water and the residents in the area carrying armchairs and other belongings. The Internet user described how many families suffered losses “of appliances and of everything.”
The residents of this low-lying zone, accustomed to downpours filling the streets with water, have built all types of barriers to keep the water from entering the houses. The majority of those who live on the ground floor have raised the bottom frame of the door and created a small staircase to access the home.
“The water passed over the wall quickly because it rained a lot in very little time,” explains Mario Ricardo, a retiree who lives in the vicinity of Calle Santo Tomás, in one of the zones most affected by the downpour, to 14ymedio. “Since it started to rain we realized that this Sunday we weren’t going to be able to sleep.”
In the early morning, the waters still hadn’t receded from everything and the most affected were waiting for the sun to come out so they could put their belongings out to dry. “This Monday my two children will not be able to go to school because all the clothing got wet and the youngest has a test,” commented another resident to this newspaper. “We hope that it doesn’t rain again in the next few hours so we can recover part of what is wet.”
For this Monday the Meteorology Institute predicted clouds in the western region with some showers and rain, mainly in areas of the northern coast.
Translated by: Sheilagh Carey
The 14ymedio team is committed to serious journalism that reflects the reality of deep Cuba. Thank you for joining us on this long road. We invite you to continue supporting us, but this time by becoming a member of 14ymedio. Together we can continue to transform journalism in Cuba.