14ymedio, Juan Diego Rodríguez, Havana, September 27, 2022 — Havana woke up this Tuesday with the rains and winds that Ian had been leaving in the Cuban territory for hours, but people on the street seemed not to have heard that the hurricane that was coming and was of considerable intensity.
The food shortage in the capital was worse than the threat of the hurricane. “Nothing prevents people from going out to stand in line for bread in any event,” said an old woman from Central Havana, who hadn’t been able to buy a single piece the day before.
In this same neighborhood of the capital and in the rain, street vendors were still promoting a few goods, mainly cart-pushers, who remained on the corners dispatching some fruits and vegetables before leaving.
In other areas such as the Plaza de la Revolución, the howl of the wind frightened residents, especially when, in addition to the shocking noise caused by the force of the hurricane, they began to see zinc tiles, palm leaves, pieces of plastic and some trees falling to the ground.
“There was such a strong and sustained gust that all of us, humans and pets, ran to hide and take shelter under a table,” says a young man from Nuevo Vedado.
Power outages began early in the morning and still keep much of the capital in the dark. There was also the sound of sirens heading to Central Havana and Old Havana, two of the most populated municipalities with a lot of housing deterioration. “I hear a siren, they’re firefighters, I just saw them go to Reina Street. There must be a collapse,” a woman told this newspaper by phone.
And before the sound of the sirens and the wind, many took note of the severe economic crisis that plagues the island, worse than a hurricane like Ian: “There is nothing here for these events: no tape to protect glass windows, no rechargeable lamps, no kerosene for ’gossiping,’ stovetops or candles,” complained a man in Havana. “Well, we’re plagued by dengue, and there aren’t even any mosquito nets, so what could we expect!?”
In the afternoon, when the water and air finally made a truce, the disaster in the city could be witnessed. Tree after fallen tree, as well as ceilings, facades and some furniture that flew away were the general picture.
In this part of western Cuba, “people are very upset about the delays in preparation and also in the caution of the first forecasts of the hurricane,” some reproached. “Yesterday, several residents of El Vedado were surprised when we warned them of Ian.”
While in Florida, where Ian is heading on Tuesday night with intense growth, the authorities have been preparing the population about the possible ravages of the storm since last week on the Island, where the hurricane left Pinar del Río in a disaster zone. The Government’s messages in recent days were exclusively focused on the referendum for the Family Code, which came into force on Wednesday. “A law passed by water,” Cubans ironize on the street.
Translated by Regina Anavy
COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORK: The 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.