Streets Turned to Rivers in Trinidad

Some rivers, such as the Caracusey, overflowed and four dams have had to open as they exceed their normal water levels. (Courtesy)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Luz Escobar, Havana, 9 October 2019 — The streets have become rivers in Trinidad this week. Although October is traditionally the wettest month of the year in Cuba, the first week has left shocking images. The colonial historic center, which has a terrible infrastructure to channel the water, is collapsed by rainfall that, on this Monday already accounts for 167% of the historical average of the month.

The city, which given its tourist focus has some 2,000 guesthouses  and more than a hundred restaurants and paladares (private restaurants), generates a lot of garbage. But the fuel shortages, says environmental activist Dennis Valdés, has meant that it’s been days since the garbage trucks have gone by, so the neighbors take advantage of the force of the current and throw waste of all kinds on the street so that the water can drag it away.

“It looks like a river, literally, it looks like Venice, people can’t go out in the streets because the water takes them away. The worst is when the water level drops and, at the end of the street, on the edge, there is a huge amount of trash.”

Some rivers, such as Caracusey, have overflowed and four dams have had to be opened after exceeding their normal water levels. Tuinucú is at 103%; Siguaney 106% ; Aridanes 111% and Banao II 106%.

In Condado and Caracusey there were heavy rains this Monday, registering 102 and 111 cubic millimeters, respectively, while it measured 81 in the historic center of Trinidad.

Sancti Spíritus is not the only province affected by rainfall, although it is the most affected. In Camagüey it has rained throughout the week, constantly. “As always happens, the streets are flooded and traveling on the road becomes a headache,” residents say.

“It has not happened for more than 30 years, it rained for more than 10 days,” said Ricardo Fernández, a 14medio contributor in that province. “It is a problem to go out, there are no umbrellas in the stores and those that are selling them now charge 13 CUC.”

In Old Havana, although the rains were not so torrential, many families spent the week worrying about the roof of their houses. “I slept with my heart in my mouth, this building has shoring everywhere and the rain gets in through some walls that are cracked.

I have a room full of basins and I had to send the girls to my mother-in-law’s house so they’re not in danger. Until the rains stop, I won’t bring them home. Ugly things have happened with some partial collapses that we have suffered here and it is better to prevent it,” said a young woman who lives in a building “in danger of collapse.”

In Holguin, the rains caused problems in several locations and caused the Mayarí river to rise. Something similar to what happened in Guantanamo, where rainfall caused the overflow in some of its river basins and dams; already at 50% of their capacity last week, 12% more than last month, they continued to increase their level.

The forecasts, as of today, are more optimistic and the showers, which are expected in some provinces, will, at least, be isolated.


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