For the Second Time in Five Days, Flooding of Cuba’s Cabana River Forces the Evacuation of Moa Residents

Although heavy rainfall was forecast, the water level during Wednesday’s floods was low (Ale Céspedes/Facebook).

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 16 November 2023 — The second flood in barely three days of the Cabaña River, in Holguín, has forced the evacuation of residents of several towns in the municipality of Moa on Wednesday. In just 45 minutes, the level of rainfall rose to 80 millimeters and caused serious damage in the communities near the Nuevo Mundo dam.

About 57 residents of the Pedro Soto Alba neighborhood – known as Ecrin – in Moa, were relocated from their homes, while another 317 were forced to take shelter in the homes of family and acquaintances in less damaged areas due to the rise in water level, as reported to the official press by Alexis Mejías, the First Secretary of the Communist Party in the municipality.

The authorities also emphasized that, in comparison with the previous flood, this time the water only reached a few centimeters.

Mejías assured that teams have been formed for the protection of the flooded homes and to assist in the evacuation of those affected, to relieve the sewer systems – which tend to break down easily on the Island, due to the lack of systematic maintenance – and to collect the waste generated by the swelling of the river.

Despite the seriousness of the situation, the official press has focused more on Moa’s ’spirit of solidarity.’

Despite the seriousness of the situation, the official press has focused more on Moa’s ’spirit of solidarity,’ which they attribute to the good work of the authorities, and has chosen to provide as few details as possible about the homes and lands damaged by the flood

In the early hours of Sunday, residents in the districts of Ecrin, Cabaña, and La Veguita were evacuated following the first rise of the river. “In a very short time, the surge of water raised the levels to never before seen limits and penetrated virtually all the homes in the Ecrin district,” detailed the official Tele Cristal at that time. The local media acknowledged that the damages ’were significant’ and affected 135 homes, in which a total of 374 people lived.

Residents of Moa, who took to social media to share their desperation, asserted that in previous years they have also suffered from the river’s overflow without any action being taken by the provincial administration to resolve the situation. On Cubadebate, where the news was also published, some readers regretted not having prior meteorological reports before the flood that would have warned them to take measures to safeguard their belongings and protect their homes

In other provinces, the consequences of the recent days’ intense rains have been felt as well, although not to the severity seen in Moa. Calle 23, the main avenue of El Vedado in Havana, turned into a river this Wednesday afternoon as a result of the rainfall. Just a few minutes of heavy downpour were enough for the sewer system to break down and La Rampa to be completely flooded, from the highest areas of the street to the Malecón.

Photographs of parked cars on 23rd street, with the current reaching their doors and windows, quickly began to spread – along with hundreds of criticisms and complaints towards the Government – on social media.

Translated by Jesus Tuñon as part of University of Miami/Spanish 321


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