Hurricane Irma Damaged Around 4% Of Cuba’s Already Deficient Housing Supply

The cities of Havana and Santiago de Cuba have the most deteriorated housing supply. (14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 29 September 2017 — The situation of Cuba’s housing supply deficit continues to worsen, according to a preliminary report by the National Defense Council published Friday, which counts 158,554 homes affected by Hurricane Irma on the island, a figure that represents around 4% of the total housing supply in the country.

The powerful storm left 10 dead, destroyed 14,657 homes and left another 23,560 homeless, as well as 103,691 homes partially damaged.

So far, 11,689 people remain under state protection in evacuation centers where they receive food and other basic necessities, although the report did not specify the number of evacuees that are staying in the homes of relatives or neighbors.

The largest number of houses destroyed or seriously damaged by the hurricane is concentrated in the provinces of Havana, Matanzas, Villa Clara, Sancti Spíritus, Ciego de Ávila and Camagüey as well as Las Tunas, Holguín and Guantanamo.

Between September 7 and 10 Irma passed along the island’s north coast with hurricane winds of up to 130 mph and heavy rains that affected 13 of the 15 provinces in the country.

At the end of 2016, there was already a housing deficit on the island of more than 880,000 units and a large part of the housing supply was deteriorating and with “critical” problems, especially in cities such as Havana and Santiago de Cuba, according to reports presented to the National Assembly.

The National Defense Council also reported that the national electrical system, which suffered serious damage, has been almost completely restored, and that 99.9% of consumers already benefit from the repair of this service. Nevertheless, the provinces of Villa Clara, Sancti Spíritus, Ciego de Ávila and Camagüey are still suffering damages.

Not everything is bad news after the hurricane, because thanks to the rains produced by the storm the reservoirs of the island now contain 6.302 million cubic meters of water, which means that they are now at 68.4% of their capacity, easing the drought that the island has been suffering for several years.