14ymedio, Havana, December 13, 2023 — The four families who still lived in the building that, in the early hours of this Wednesday, partially collapsed on the corner of San Lázaro and Perseverancia, in Central Havana, were evacuated, as confirmed by 14ymedio. This afternoon several demolition teams were working on removing the parts of the facade that were still in danger of falling.
The building, which had already suffered other collapses in the past and was in a terrible state of construction, lost part of the facade this morning during the intense rains that hit the Cuban capital. The collapse was one of the greatest fears of its inhabitants who, repeatedly, had denounced the disastrous situation of the building and demanded an institutional response.
San Lázaro Avenue was still closed to traffic after 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, and the police guarded the surrounding roads to prevent the passage of people near the place of the collapse. “We are trying to do it very carefully so as not to damage the adjoining building, and we believe that there won’t be problems,” one of the workers of the demolition brigade told this newspaper.
A crane, of the Chinese brand ZoomLion, hoisted a cage with employees who, once on top of the property’s roof, proceeded to evaluate the condition of the building. Although humidity remained in the environment, the rains gave a truce to the Cuban capital in the afternoon, a moment that state employees also took advantage of to work on the remains of San Lázaro and Perseverancia.
The building was not the only one affected by the rainfall on that important Havana avenue. At number 413 of San Lázaro, between Campanario and Manrique, another building suffered the collapse of part of its balconies and cornices. The property had also experienced a previous collapse and is still inhabited by several families despite the deep degree of damage to its structure.
On the same street, fragments of a building located in the vicinity of Galiano Street, a busy area, fell on the road.
The proximity of the sea, with its frequent coastal floods, the incidence of saltpeter and the strongest winds of the coast have contributed, along with state laziness and lack of maintenance, to the ruin of many buildings on San Lázaro Street.
The damage extends to the whole avenue, from its beginning near the Malecón to its end in front of the steps of the University of Havana, but it is the section from Paseo del Prado to Belascoaín that is the most affected. It is precisely in that area that the building that partially collapsed this morning is located.
Translated by Regina Anavy
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